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Performance

So just how well can a grasshopper jump?

The details obviously vary with the species and size (and sex) of the grasshopper, but a locust of the type shown on the title page can make a standing long jump of nearly a metre, rising to a height of about 25 cms at the peak.

When a grasshopper jumps, it first crouches down, there is then a short delay, and then off it goes! The delay is crucial, and we'll come back to it later.
The peak acceleration during take-off approaches 20 g, which would probably squash a human.

Silly statistics - A locust is about 5 cms long, so if jumping ability scaled up in proportion to size, a human should be able to do a standing long jump of about 40 metres!

Here is a video of a real grasshopper jumping. Notice how the grasshopper tumbles in the air after take-off.

(This video was kindly sent to me by Beth Nenniger, Alberta, Canada, who took it as part of her science fair project.)

And here we have a close-up high-speed (1000 fps) video of the moment of take-off::

(Courtesy of Prof. M. Burrows, University of Cambridge).


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