Water Fleas Grow Personalized Armor

Water fleas have the unique ability to grow defensive armor such as helmets and spines when they detect predators. What’s even more cool is that they can tailor make their armor to fit the manner of predator they detect. No one suit is alike.

Water fleas can detect certain chemical cues left in the water that tells them a predator is on its way and what they can even expect that predator to fight them with. Scientists speculate that this ability act as a kind of “anti-lock key system.” Since the tiny water flea is small and many of their predators eat specifically small insects, they can grow a spine or helmet perfectly designed to foil that foe, making the key no longer fit in the lock.

One scientist, Dr. Linda Weiss from the Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany, has even isolated the specific neurotransmitters that translate those chemical cues into hormonal responses, making the water flea begin to grow its unique armor appendages. If I had a choice, I think this would definitely be my superhero power.

If you could choose, what crazy insect superpower would you want to have?

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