Video reveals that springtails are tiny acrobats

It’s not just panic and chance. Some of nature’s extreme self-launchers, the springtails, turn out to be much more acrobatic than scientists thought.

Springtails, poppy seed–sized cousins of insects, “are famous because they know how to jump but also famous because they have no control at all according to the literature,” says biomechanist Victor M. Ortega-Jiménez of the University of Maine in Orono.

But in a study published November 7 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, he and colleagues have used high-speed video to challenge that received no-control “wisdom.”

Springtails tend to be ignored by most people because they are so hard to see with the naked

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