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Insect that flings pee with a butt catapult is 1st known example of 'superpropulsion' in nature


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Relatives of cicadas known as sharpshooter insects can catapult pee droplets at superfast speeds, revealing the first known example of "superpropulsion" in nature, a new study finds.

This newly discovered effect helps the bugs save energy during peeing and may inspire better self-cleaning devices and soft robotic engines, scientists noted.

In the new study, researchers examined relatives of cicadas known as glassy-winged sharpshooters (Homalodisca vitripennis). These insects, which are about half an inch (1.2 centimeters) long, feed on sap from xylem, the woody part of a plant that brings water and dissolved nutrients up from the roots, as opposed to the phloem, which brings sugar down from the leaves.

The sharpshooter's diet is 95% water, and poor in nutrients. So the bugs constantly drink xylem sap to get enough to eat, and pee up to 300 times their body weight per day. (For comparison, humans pee about one-fortieth of their body weight per day.) 

https://www.livescience.com/insect-that-flings-pee-with-a-butt-catapult-is-1st-known-example-of-superpropulsion-in-nature

The scientists detailed their findings online Feb. 28 in the journal Nature Communications.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-023-36376-5?

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Catapults its urine droplets at remarkable speeds over large distances?!!

I betcha this 'glassy-winged sharpshooter' doesn't get invited to many parties by the other insects.
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34 minutes ago, TomO' said:

Catapults its urine droplets at remarkable speeds over large distances?!!

I betcha this 'glassy-winged sharpshooter' doesn't get invited to many parties by the other insects.

....or does he?

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"I saw these insects peeing once and fell in love," study senior author Saad Bhamla, a biophysicist at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, told Live Science

 

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