We have been itching to find the answer to this question for years! – Deskarati
New research from the University of Cambridge sheds light on how fleas jump, reaching speeds as fast as 1.9 meters per second.
In 1967, a scientist by the name of Henry Bennet-Clark discovered that fleas store the energy needed to catapult themselves into the air in a pad made of the unique ‘elastic’ protein resilin. However, in the intervening years, debate raged about exactly how fleas harness this explosive energy. Scientists came up with competing hypotheses, but it wasn’t until recently that the technology necessary to record and analyse the data became available.
Using high speed recording equipment and sophisticated mathematical models, Professor Malcolm Burrows and Dr Gregory Sutton from the University’s Department of Zoology, were able to prove that fleas use their toes to push off and propel themselves into the air, resolving the 44 year old mystery. Their findings are published February 10, in the Journal of Experimental Biology.