The Cockroaches That Can Jump Long Distances
Cockroaches are already frightening and repellent creatures, so they certainly do not need any new features that make them any more horrific than they already are. However, there are around four thousand cockroach species in the world, and some species are very different from others. Most people are only familiar with American or German cockroaches since they are commonly found within people’s homes. However, there is one cockroach species that is able to jump at distances that equal fifty times their own body length. The idea of a jumping cockroach is enough to give some people nightmares, but luckily you won’t be finding this cockroach species under your sink.
Back in 2011 researchers discovered a new roach species that is now commonly referred to as a leaproach. This cockroach is rarely found scuttling across the ground like other cockroach species; instead the leaproach prefers to hop continuously. This cockroach has adapted to its environment by growing powerful hind legs with spring-loaded knees. This cockroach must jump in order to see where it is going within areas that contain tall sedge grass. Other cockroaches that share the same environment with leaproaches have not adapted the ability to jump. According to zoologist Mike Picker of the University of Cape Town, leaproaches possess unique bodies that “evolved around a leaping form of locomotion”. In fact, the leaproach is the only roach species that does not scuttle about on the ground.
The leaproaches’ body is similar to a grasshopper’s body, but the leaproach can jump more than twice as far as grasshoppers and locusts. According to experts, the leaproach could have evolved a jump-capable body that resembles a flea’s body, but the leaproach evolved alongside grasshoppers. This is why a leaproaches’ body is similar to a grasshopper’s body. The leaproaches’ jumping abilities could only be mechanically understood by watching slow-motion footage of this insect’s jumps. After several views, researchers developed an understanding concerning the bodily mechanics involved with their jumping.
Have you ever been startled by a grasshopper that jumped onto your body unexpectedly?