Science Explains Cockroaches' Ninja-Like Ability to Vanish

Now 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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