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Mystery of how fleas jump resolved

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Published on Feb 9, 2011

In 1967, Henry Bennet-Clark discovered that fleas are able to jump extraordinary lengths by compressing part of their skeletal structure containing the protein resilin, which acts as a tense spring. However, debate continued as to how exactly fleas harness this explosive energy. New research from the University of Cambridge published in the Journal of Experimental Biology has used high-speed movies to show that the little blood-suckers use their toes to push off and propel themselves into the air.

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