at the University of Manchester have trained a regal jumping spider – named Kim - to leap on command for the first time.
A high resolution, slow motion video shows Kim jumping up to six times its body length from a standing start.
The best a human can achieve is about 1.5 times.
In a study described as ‘the most advanced of its kind to date’, scientists looked at why the anatomy of the jumping spider evolved the way it did. They hope to use the results to help develop a new type of ‘agile micro-robot’ inspired by nature.
Dr Mostafa Nabawy, lead author of the study, said: “The focus of the present work is on the extraordinary jumping capability of these spiders. A jumping spider can leap up to six times its body length from a standing start. The best a human can achieve is about 1.5 body lengths. The force on the legs at take-off can be up to five times the weight of the spider – this is amazing and if we can understand these biomechanics we can apply them to other areas of research.”
Four jumping spiders, which are native to North America, were obtained for the research – but Kim was the only one who ‘showed any inclination to jump as required’. She was eventually taught to leap from platforms in a lab at the university – and the results were recorded.
The results showed Kim used different types of jump depending on the challenge she was presented with. See video at manchester eveningnews.co.uk
●● Kim the regal jumping spider, and below, leaping on command