How beach beetles use wheel locomotion to roll away from dangerMarch 24th, 2011 - 5:11 pm ICT by ANI
London, Mar 24 (ANI): Biologists have discovered how a beach beetle rolls away from danger across the sand - it simply leaps into the air and curves its body into a perfect spinning hoop, all propelled by the wind.
The beetle, biologically known as Cicindela dorsalis media, is one non-human animal that makes use of the wheel, and the only one known to use the wind for propulsion, reports New Scientist.
Alan Harvey, biologist at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, and his student Sarah Zukoff discovered the remarkable behaviour when Zukoff accidentally kicked a sand dune on a coastal island in Georgia and dislodged some beetle larvae.
They then captured the whole mechanism in high-speed video images, which revealed that each larva begins its flight with a high, twisting leap that helps it to orient itself to the wind.
They also found that the larva held its legs out to the sides as it rolled.
According to Harvey, the beetles might be using this odd form of locomotion to escape quickly from their main predator, a parasitic wasp that invades their burrows and lays eggs in the larvae.
The study is published in PLoS One. (ANI)
- Ginger root helps conserve stag beetles - Jan 10, 2011
- Crows' major energy intake comes from tool-derived food - Sep 18, 2010
- Predators too prefer food with nutritional value - Jan 13, 2012
- Sand dunes in Northern Mars actively changing - Feb 04, 2011
- Social status in paper wasps is established early in life - May 20, 2010
- Lizard turns into snake to navigate desert sand - Jul 17, 2009
- Sandfish tucks legs and swims like a snake through desert sand - Jul 17, 2009
- Butterflies cure themselves of disease with medicinal plants - Oct 11, 2010
- Fossilized fig wasp hasn't changed for over 34 million years - Jun 16, 2010
- 2 new species of 'leaping' beetles found in New Caledonia - Jan 19, 2011
- Indian American astronomer finds diamond-studded planet - Dec 09, 2010
- Astronomers discover diamond-studded planet - Dec 09, 2010
- A new, giant wasp discovered in Indonesia - Mar 25, 2012
- How ladybugs are taken hostage by wasps - Nov 18, 2009
- Trivedi proposes new projects for home state, constituency - Mar 14, 2012
Tags: alan harvey, beetle larvae, beetles, biologist, biologists, burrows, coastal island, curves, georgia southern university, human animal, larva, locomotion, new scientist, parasitic wasp, plos one, propulsion, remarkable behaviour, sand dune, video images, wasp