Jumping parasitic worms use static electricity to hit their targets

Electrical field of a fruit fly

Electrical field of a fruit fly

Victor M. Ortega-Jimenez

Tiny parasitic worms may be exceptionally good at jumping onto their prey because they are electrically attracted to them.

Roundworms (Steinernema carpocapsae) that attach to insects like bees or fruit flies to feed on them are among nature’s most powerful jumpers despite being only a millimetre long. They launch into the air, then spin in a series of flips until they land on insects headfirst. Researchers have previously studied how the structure of the worms’ muscles helps them jump so well, but Víctor Ortega …

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