Many arthropods have an efficient, simpler way of locomotion: they jump or hop. Jumping is often less directional than flying and may be used as a startling, sudden way to escape from danger, even in insects that are able to fly. But flightless arthropods like spiders may also jump in attacks with great precision. To jump, arthropods may employ their specialized hind-legs, usually elongate and muscular, but there are many other structures that are also used – don’t forget click beetles and spring tails ….. So let’s see where this new theme will get us (this was another week's topic for our Facebook group) – and, by the way, I hope you had a pleasant jump into the New Year 2015!
|Lepidocyrtus sp., Slender Springtail|
I had never photographed any, so yesterday I grabbed one of our hedgehog cacti that died last year and shook it over a white basin. sure enough, hundreds of 'slender springtails' fell out. They are too small for my camera but I'm showing a shot anyway.
M...ost species of springtails have an abdominal, tail-like appendage, the furcula, that is folded beneath the body to be used for jumping when the animal is threatened. It is held under tension by a small structure called the retinaculum and when released, snaps against the substrate, flinging the springtail into the air. All of this takes place in as little as 18 milliseconds.
|Systena sp. Rock Disk Park, Marana, Pima co, AZ November|
|Acanthoscelidius utahensis, Photo by Won Gun Kim|
|Platycotis vittata (Oak Treehopper)|
Molino Basin, Catalina Mts, April
|Antianthe expansa, Keeled Tree Hopper|
on Datura, Sabino Canyon, Pima Co, AZ
|Scolopsella reticulata, Alphina glauca, Poblicia fuliginosa, |
Rhabdocephala brunnea, Acanalonia sp., Poblicia fuliginosa nymph
and are vegetarians (although the story of the biting Lantern Bug will not die....) I like them very much because they are the life-long specialty of my octogenarian close friend Lois O'Brien who just sent me the most hilarious year-end letter about her ongoing research.
Siphonaptera (Fleas) » Pulicidae are wingless insects with sucking mouth parts and strong jumping legs.
Living with 5 dogs and 2 cats In Arizona, we had one infestation in 12 years. It meant disinfecting all carpets and dog beds repeatedly and washing 8 animals every second day with flea shampoo. We got rid of that pest and afterwards I have only once seen a single flea - strangely on a white surface, not even on an animal. We were expecting the worst again, but no further signs. Arizona's dry climate and sandy soils are not the 'best' conditions for fleas it seems. Constant vigilance and cleaning also keeps any larvae from growing up because they rely on the excrement of adult fleas for food.
|Alaus zunianus (Zuni Click Beetle)|
Upper Madera Cny, 8/8/2013
|Bristletail from Peppersauce Canyon, Catalinas, Pima County, Arizona, USA|
July 14, 2011
are 'wingless (insects); body cylindrical, brownish or yellowish with darker mottling or irregular pattern; thorax arched dorsally; tip of abdomen with 1 long medial filament and 2 shorter lateral cerci; long thread-like antennae with many segments; eyes large and meet in middle; mandibles articulate at one point only; short lateral styli (rudimentary appendages) on abdominal segments 2-9; able to jump up to 10 cm by snapping abdomen against ground' quote from Bugguide.net
|Salticus palpalis, the Metallic Clown Jumper, Tucson Mountain Park, February|
Salticus palpalis, the Metallic Clown Jumper
Jumping spiders have typically 3 pairs of eyes. The anterior median eyes (the pair of eyes in the center front) are comparatively very large and give these spiders excellent color vision and a high degree of resolution. The shape of the retinae indicates that these eyes function like tele lenses. Obviously they also provide binocular vision, meaning that the spider can judge distances accurately - a must for a jumping predator. The spiders behave like they are more intelligent than other bugs. I think this impression is partly based on the fact that humans and salticids both are very much vision-oriented and thus seem to understand each others reactions quite well.
|Cydia latiferreana (Filbertworm Moth)|
Its mexican genus-mate is Cydia deshaisiana, the Jumping Bean Moth. The adult moth of that species does not jump either. But the caterpillar does, sort of: It develops in the bean shaped fruit of a shrub (Sebastiania). When the ripened fruit falls to the ground, it may land in an exposed locatio...n where it gets much too hot for the caterpillar inside. So the caterpillar begins to spasm and buck inside the 'bean'. Since the caterpillar has attached itself firmly to the inside of the bean with silken threads, it is able to move the whole fruit, to make it actually jump. So the bean may eventually end up in a micro climate more suited to the needs of the inhabitant. Or not. But what is there to lose if the stimulus for action is sudden overheating?