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Science Explains Cockroaches’ Ninja-Like Ability to Vanish

you see it, now you don’t. In addition to their ability to survive a nuclear
apocalypse, cockroaches have the ability to skitter and vanish in a blink
of an eye.

Now, science has explained the ninja-like ability of cockroaches:

"Cockroaches continue to surprise us," said Robert Full,
a professor of integrative biology who 15 years ago discovered that
when cockroaches run rapidly, they rear up on their two hind legs like
bipedal humans. "They have fast relay systems that allow them to
dart away quickly in response to light or motion at speeds up to 50
body lengths per second, which is equivalent to a couple hundred miles
per hour, if you scale up to the size of humans. This makes them incredibly
good at escaping predators." [...]

Mongeau and Brian McRae, an undergraduate bioengineering major,
analyzed the mechanics of the ninja-like maneuver and discovered that
the cockroach, an American cockroach (Periplaneta americana), wasn’t
merely falling over the ledge. It actually ran at full speed toward
the ledge, dove off, then grabbed the edge with its claws — sometimes
using only one leg — and swung like a pendulum under the ledge, retaining
75 percent of its running energy.


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June 7th, 2012

Stranger to the World


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