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A pee fly is faster than its shadow

If she really went to the bathroom like us – or like a dog – this bug would probably die of exhaustion, considering the number of times she had to squat or raise her leg – as well as the muscular movements required to void urine.

You should know that this insect, which is only a few millimeters long, feeds by sucking leaves, or rather the liquid that circulates in texture, the network of “tubules” that connect roots to leaves. With the exception that this liquid is 95% water, to extract the minimum necessary nutrients, the insect would have to suck in a large amount of liquid. Since this means he has to urinate a lot, he has long been known for expelling his urine in a high-speed jet of droplets, earning him the sympathetic name “pee-pee” in French.

However, this method must be energy efficient, otherwise the insect will not survive. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta So he wanted to understand the ‘technique’ using miniature cameras, Follow the movements of five of these Homolodisca vitripennis —their official Latin name—and in particular the pointed appendage, which are called “anal styles”: by a rotating motion and squeezing the droplets before they come out, these are ” projectile at a speed of 30 cm per second. With 80 milliseconds passing between each drop, this phenomenon takes the form of a super-fast jet—and much less energy-intensive than our own method.

This phenomenon is of interest not only to biologists. In fact, the lead author of the research, Back in Nature Communicationsengineer: The discovery of this “super-thrust” could inspire the design of self-cleaning machines, snow removal systems, or even transportation systems.

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On the occasion of the month of la francophonie, the team would like to stress its connection to the quality of the French language. This is why we use it daily antidote to review our texts.