Insect walk and jump on water: Robot shows how water strides do it (VIDEO).

These Insects Don’t Just Walk on Water—They Jump Off It, Too (Video)

These Insects Don’t Just Walk on Water—They Jump Off It, Too (Video)

Slate in motion.
Aug. 9 2015 10:25 AM

Why Walk on Water When You Can Jump on It?

How water striders do it.

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Screenshot via Slate.

Using high-speed video to analyze a water strider’s jump, a Seoul National University team found the insect draws its larger legs inward as it pushes down on the water surface with just enough force to propel itself upward without breaking the water’s surface tension. No break in surface tension means no splash, which gives the water strider a nice stable platform from which to leap.

To prove this, they built a robotic counterpart that operates under the same principles. Watch it in the video above.


Jim Festante is an actor/writer in Los Angeles and regular video contributor to Slate. He is the author of the Image Comics miniseries The End Times of Bram and Ben.