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The Kid Should See This

Front-flipping psyllids in slow-motion

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There are over 3,000 described species of psyllids and yet they are not well-known in popular culture. Why should we better-appreciate these insects who are often thought of as pests? “No other type of insect throws itself into the air quite like plant lice do,” explains Dr. Adrian Smith in this jumping plant lice video.

“Psyllids are more than plant-sucking, disease-spreading insects. To me, the most incredible thing about them is how the adults use their hind legs to send themselves front flipping through the air.”

This Ant Lab video captures hop-hornbeam psyllids (Psylla carpinicola), persimmon psyllids (Baeoalitriozus diospyri), and yaupon psyllid nymphs (Gyropsylla ilecis) front-flipping at 3,200 frames per second.

size comparison with a mechanical pencil
tiny jumping psyllid
Smith regularly shares the Evolutionary Biology and Behavior Research Lab’s work at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and North Carolina State University, but his videos have more recently documented the tiny “under-appreciated bugs” living in his back yard.

Watch more AntLab videos on YouTube or on TKSST:
• Jumping Hoppers in Slow Motion
• The Unseen Incredibleness of Mealworms
• How do leafcutter ants cut leaves off of trees?
• Are globular springtails the fastest spinning animals on Earth?

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