London, July 31: A bug that can leap the equivalent of a skyscraper has beaten the flea to become the insect world high jump champion.
The froghopper, a ladybird-sized green bug commonly found in gardens, can jump more than two feet, scientists announced yesterday.
Its athletic ability far surpasses that of the much lighter flea, which until now was regarded as the insect leaping champion.
The froghopper’s back legs can accelerate the bug at 13,000 feet per second and to a height of 27 inches.
Froghoppers, also called spittle bugs, produce the white foam known as “cuckoo spit” seen on garden leaves. Although found all over the world, their prowess has previously gone unremarked.
Prof Malcolm Burrows, head of zoology at Cambridge University, said in the journal Nature that the bug’s hind legs had muscles which acted like a “catapult” to release energy explosively.
A high-speed camera revealed that the froghopper could jump 27 inches, the equivalent to a man jumping over a 690 feet skyscraper. When it jumped it accelerated at a breathtaking 13,000 feet per second.