Key to water strider's striding lies in its optimal legs

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Washington, Aug 10 : Water strider's perfectly proportioned legs allows the insect to efficiently scoot and jump on ponds and lakes, says scientists in France and the United Kingdom.

In a new study, Dominic Vella said that an insight into the insect's many adaptations to life on water surfaces might have future implications in designing water-walking robots that can support the maximum possible payload.

For the study, Vella developed a mathematical model to determine the maximum weight load that a thin, flexible cylinder, representing a water strider's legs, can support on a liquid surface without sinking, reports The Science Daily. He discovered that the increase in the length of the cylinder caused the maximum load to increase at first, which then reaches a plateau at some critical length.

Beyond that particular length, the cylinder begins to bend and cannot support more weight.

When Vella compared the model to measurements on museum specimens, he found that the strider's legs are typically slightly shorter than the critical length. This indicated that water strider's legs are of the optimal length, he said, that are log enough to provide maximum weight support but not long enough to bend and hinder the insect's movement.

ANI

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