Praying mantises are known for gulping down their partners after mating but their other side resembles the gracefulness of Mikhail Baryshnikov especially when it comes to jumping.
Researchers from the universities of Cambridge and Bristol studied the insect’s jumping technique. Right from taking off to landing, the projectile lasts for less than a tenth, that is much quicker with respect to blink of human eye. Jumping at an ultra fast speed while maintaining stability while landing is not as easy as mantises’ projects.
Entire sequence of events from jumping to spinning and finally clutching target with an exact precision in less than 100 msec is quite an unusual phenomenon. Researchers claimed that in most cases, insects fail to take control of their bodies after jumping and hence fall for crash landing. However, mantises’ jump is an exception. The arthropod jumps and clutches the target flawlessly every time.
Smaller the size difficult it is to control rotation while airborne, which I guess the mantises’ is not aware off, hence, researchers behind the study said that this skill set of mantises’ could be taken up as an inspiration for designing small leaping robots.
To observe the jump, please click on the video below. Throughout the jumping process, the insect moves its legs and abdomen at the same time but in opposite direction to control the spin. This reflex makes their body in align with the target while still in airborne. The entire projectile occurs in less than 100 msec.