Marcel Meinders, Ph.D.
Ton van Vliet, Ph.D.
TI Food and Nutrition (formerly WCFS)
Wageningen, the Netherlands
Phone: 0031 317 475 215 (Meinders)
0031-317-475347 (Van Vliet)
ARTICLE #3 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Perfectly proportioned legs keep water striders striding
The amazing water strider known for its ability to walk on water came within just a hair of sinking into evolutionary oblivion. Scientists in France and the United Kingdom are reporting that the insect's long, flexible legs have an optimal length that keeps it afloat. Their report is scheduled for the August 19 issue of ACS' Langmuir, a bi-weekly journal.
In the new study, Dominic Vella notes that scientists already know much about the water-repellant structure of the water strider's legs and how it allows them to efficiently scoot and jump on ponds and lakes. However, the insect's many adaptations to life on water surfaces pose scientific puzzles. Solving those mysteries may have practical applications in the design of water-walking robots that can support the maximum possible payload, they note.
Building on earlier work by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University, 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. He found that as the length of the cylinder increases, the maximum load at first increases but then reaches a p
|Contact: Michael Woods|
American Chemical Society