Scientist Captures ‘The Fastest Front Flipping Insect’ in Super Slow Motion

Dr. Adrian Smith—a scientist who is perhaps best known for his educational videos on YouTube—has released another fascinating super slow motion video highlighting a tiny little insect you’ve probably never heard of. They’re commonly called jumping plant lice, and they’re “the fastest front-flipping insect” on the planet.

While they’re usually considered pests because of how they can spread crop diseases, jumping plant lice are also impressive little acrobats… hence the interest in capturing them on video.

“Jumping plant lice, or psyllids, are the fastest front-flipping insects, but not many people know about how amazing they are! [So] I set out to film the high-flying flips of these plant-feeding … insects,” explains Smith. “They are hemipterans in the superfamily Psylloidea and are often referred to as ‘psyllids.’ Most of the shots, unless other with labeled in the video, were captured at 3,200 frames per second.”

In the course of filming these little guys, Smith was able to show that they can flip their bodies at an incredible 389 flips per second—that translates into one flip every 0.0025 seconds. To capture this clearly on camera, Smith had to film sequences ranging from 3,200fps all the way up to 14,000fps.

The results look downright acrobatic.

In addition, he also shot slow motion footage of winged adults transitioning from flip-to-flight in mid-air, another impressive feat that Smith was able to capture in a level of detail and quality that has probably never been seen before.

To see these jumping critters in action for yourself, and learn a little something along the way, check out the full video up top.

And if you enjoy watching and learning about insects in super slow motion, you can see more fascinating footage from Dr. Smith in the PetaPixel archives, including this balletic slow motion footage of various insects taking flight, and this video of ants injecting venom at 1,000fps.

(via Laughing Squid)

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