For three years, U.S. Researchers observed small maggot larvae of the group asphondylia with special cameras and microscopes. Now they describe their observations in the journal of experimental biology.
"They plant one end of their body on the ground and slide the other end in until the two ends meet," says co-author jacob harrison of duke university in durham (north carolina, u.S.). On both ends of the maggots the researchers discovered tiny hairs. These could serve to temporarily attach the two ends of the body to each other, the scientists write.
Then the now loop-shaped made presses its upper part downwards and thus stores elastic energy. When the front end of the body loosens, the larva is hurled into the air at an average speed of 0.85 meters per second by the energy that is suddenly released.
The insect, which is about 3 millimeters long, can jump up to 12 centimeters – 36 times its body length. According to the researchers’ calculations, this method consumes significantly less energy than crawling. The maggots use the method to get to safety in case of danger.