Walking On Water

Walking On Water

You may have heard of certain organisms that have the ability to walk or run on water, but only pygmy mole cricket can jump on water. For these strange insects water actually feels different to their feet. Rather than sink into it like most animals, the feet of the pygmy mole cricket actually stick to the surface of water, almost like stepping in concrete and getting stuck there. The pygmy mole cricket, which is actually more closely related to grasshoppers than crickets, are constantly in danger of being swallowed up by water, as they build their burrows near ponds and streams, leaving them vulnerable to getting flooded.

What poses an even bigger threat, though, is their neighbor the voracious tiger beetle larvae, which are only too happy to dine on these tiny guys. For these reasons, the pygmy mole cricket’s amazing jumping ability is central to their survival. So, how can they jump free of water and their predators? Their two hind legs are so large that they can’t actually use them to walk. They remain tucked up against their bodies at all times until it’s time to jump for freedom. These legs are also outfitted with a series of flattened paddles that flare outward when they hit the surface of water, increasing the surface area of the leg. This allows them to push a greater amount of water when they jump. The massive power their legs have a lot to do with how they store energy. Like with a bow and arrow the pygmy mole cricket slowly contracts its leg muscles, storing the resultant energy in their knee joint. So, when the pygmy mole cricket releases this incredible amount of energy all that power is released very rapidly, giving their jump a lot of oomph.

Have you ever seen an animal run or walk on water? What do you think of this amazing ability the pygmy mole cricket has?

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