May 24, 2024

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Cicadas shoot urine droplets around – every second

Cicadas shoot urine droplets around – every second

Smart move

Cicadas shoot urine droplets around – every second

Some cicadas throw small droplets around at short intervals. In doing so, they kill two birds with one stone.


The digestive system of some leafhoppers is very efficient and a clever move by nature.

Nature Communications: M. Saath Bamla and A. (2023)

  • Aphids excrete 300 percent of their body weight in drops of urine every day.

  • But they don’t just drop them: they throw them far.

  • According to a new study, they do this for good reason.

Some leafhoppers Contains immense nutrition. Day after day, they excrete about 300 times their body weight in tiny droplets from their rear end. This is made possible by a special device of a kind, led by researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Saad Bamla, in the special issue. “Natural Communication” write down The researchers’ videos show how the tiny animals shoot tiny water droplets every second.

In comparison: According to researchers, the amount of daily excretion in humans is only 2.5 percent of their body weight on average.

A trick to save energy

According to the researchers, cicadas (Homalotisca vitribenis), only a few millimeters in size, feed exclusively on the so-called xylem sap, which is very poor in nutrients and consists almost exclusively of water. Animals must absorb large amounts of plant extracts accordingly. You have one An efficient digestive system, which can filter large amounts of plant secretions and transport them through the body. To then get rid of the water, these cicadas use a special mechanism that specifically accelerates the expelled water droplets, the researchers write.

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The whole thing could be a strategy for the cicadas to save energy, since energy consumption is significantly higher than with other methods, write the researchers, who used numerous mathematical models for their study. throw away the excrement, Keep enemies at bay. Because the droplets land somewhere, potential attackers are unaware of the cicadas’ whereabouts.

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