Leap year only comes once every four years, and in honor of the occasion, we’re highlighting leaping bugs and exploring how far they can jump! While the mere topic of leaping bugs may make you itch, they are actually quite fascinating insects with incredible athletic skills. Don’t worry – you can always call a pest management service if you ever spot hordes of these athletes in your home.
Fleas: These tiny little bugs measure only about one-sixteenth of an inch, but they can jump about 12.5 inches! That’s 200 times the length of their bodies!
This impressive feat is accomplished by a springing mechanism in their hind legs rather than muscles. It’s equivalent to a human being jumping 130 feet from a standing position.
Grasshoppers: These insects look like they were made for jumping! Those massive hind legs are like a powerful catapult that launches the grasshopper forward. Unlike fleas, grasshoppers rely on muscles and tendons to make their jumps possible. They are capable of jumping over 20 times their body length, which means a mature grasshopper can leap forward about 40 inches.
Springtails (aka Snow Fleas): Measuring about one-eighth of an inch, these little leaping bugs can jump impressively far. They use a different method of locomotion than the previous two insects mentioned in this article, a method that allows them to jump great distances. A tiny tail-like appendage, called a furcula, folds up under the abdomen and when the springtail is ready to jump, it thrusts the tail down and back against the ground, allowing it to jump forward up to four inches in a single bound. Superman may still have the springtail beat, but these miniature leaping bugs can even launch off water!
Jumping Spiders: As their name indicates, jumping spiders are great jumpers! They have four large eyes on their face and four smaller eyes on their heads. It gives them a great advantage in eyeing their prey. After they have stalked their prey within the appropriate distance, they can leap forward up to 40 times their body length and pounce on their prey. Thanks to this athletic ability and great eyesight, jumping spiders don’t have to wait for their prey to come to them.
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