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The insect capable of running on water

The insect capable of running on water

According to the Bible, Jesus Christ was able to walk on the water in the direction of the boat in which his disciples were.

The insect that we are going to talk about today is not only capable of walk, but that seems little, so they have also managed to make a movement similar to flush flight, to great speed. And no, the cause behind this super power is not a divine miracle, but an excellent convergence between physics and biology.

Its about Lily leaf beetle (Galerucella nymphaeae), a little bug Red color which until now was known simply for forming pests dangerous for some plants, but who has recently proven to be a true professional in water skiing.

What is surface tension?

These beetles take great advantage of this physical quality of water, so it is interesting to be clear about what it is before starting to talk about it.

The water molecules join their neighbors in all directions through forces called van der waals forces. Those on the surface do not have as many molecules nearby as those on the inside, so they bond more strongly, forming a kind of relatively stiff blade.

Our insect today was not the first to take advantage of this quality. In fact, this behavior has already been observed in others, such as Shoemaker, who walks the surface without sinking. However, the speed to which does the lily leaf beetle makes it much more special.

How does the lily leaf beetle get to walk on water?

This beetle has long awakened the interest of scientists by its ability to disappear from view in a matter of seconds.

Therefore, a group of researchers from the Stanford University I decided to record it with high speed cameras. In these you can see in detail how they lift on their two central legs, they open the wings and shake the rest of the legs to dry them. Just then, they nail a kind of claw, with which they will make their way through the water, and begin the race.

According to those responsible for the video, these beetles can reach speeds of 05 m / s; that is to say, 18km / h. This may seem small, but adjusted to its size, it supposes a speed of 500 km / h for humans. A true Fitipaldi, come on.

In order to move in this way, nature has endowed these animals with hydrophobic hairs (repel water) and hydrophilic claws, to be able to adhere to the water as we saw before.

In addition to being very curious, this discovery can serve to create new mathematical models able to get into the way of moving of many insects and, in this way, apply the acquired knowledge to industrial processes.

Curious the animal of today, huh? This is the miracle of science.