Contact: Mary Beth OLeary
Caption: You might not think much about pea aphids, but it turns out they've got skills enough to get aerospace engineers excited. A report in the Feb. 4th issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, shows that the insects can free fall from the plants they feed on and--within a fraction of a second--land on their feet every time. Oftentimes, the falling aphids manage to cling to a lower part of the plant by their sticky feet on the way down, avoiding the dangerous ground altogether.
Credit: Current Biology, Ribak et al.
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Related news release: The impressive aerial maneuvers of the pea aphid