Fleas leap from feet, not knees | Science News

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Fleas leap from feet, not knees

An investigation of how the impressive jumpers take off finds an answer

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9:45am, February 10, 2011

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A decades-old debate about how the animal kingdom's most renowned jumper jumps appears to be settled.

No, not rabbits or frogs. Fleas. Using new tools like high-speed video, researchers with the University of Cambridge in England have shown that fleas take off from their tibiae and tarsi — the insect equivalent of feet — and not their trochantera, or knees. The researchers report their conclusion in the March 1 Journal of Experimental Biology.

Regardless of how fleas do it, the insects have always been famous jumpers, says study coauthor Gregory Sutton. “There are even fairy tales that talk about

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