- Froghopper (Philaenus spumarius)
- 70 centimetre(s)
- United Kingdom (Cambridge)
The highest recorded jump by an insect is 70 cm (28 in) by the froghopper (Philaenus spumarius). When it jumps, the insect accelerates at 4,000 m (13,000 ft) per second and overcomes a G-force of more than 414 times its own body weight.
The research was conducted by Professor Malcolm Burrows, Head of the Zoology Department of the University of Cambridge in 2003. The secret to the insect's jumping abilities is found in its hind legs which contain extremely strong muscles. Energy is built up in them by slow contraction and locking mechanism allows the legs to be fastened in place under the body like a taut crossbow string ready to fire. When the legs are freed, the energy is released and the insect takes off in a millisecond. The hind legs are so specialised for jumping that when the froghopper walks, they drag on the ground. By way of comparison, astronauts endure a G-force of only six to seven as they are blasted into space. A ride on a rollercoaster produces a G-force of two. A froghopper grows to 1/4 in long and weighs 0.0007 oz. The approximate human equivalent is that of a 6 ft man jumping 600 ft in one single bound.