Leaproach, a Jumping Cockroach, Discovered in South Africa

Posted on May 29, 2011

The leaproach (Saltoblattella montistabularis) is a newly discovered species of cockroach that has grasshopper like legs that give it the ability to jump. It can also scuttle around like a regular cockroach.

The small cockroach is less than half an inch long but can jump up to 50 body lengths according to the New York Times.

The leaproach was discovered in an undergrowth in Table Mountain National Park near Cape Town, South Africa. The discovery was made by South African scientist Mike Picker.

The leaproach made it on the Top 10 New Species for 2011, which is selected annually by the International Institute for Species Exploration.

Dr. Pickler told the Times, "The knee of the hind legs contains the elastic protein resilin. This probably restores the shape of the leg, which is bent during the forces of jumping."

The leaproach remains the world's only known jumping cockroach now over ten years since its discovery although Dr. Pickler suspects there may be more leaping roach species. The SANBI entry has more details about the insect.

Here's a video of the leaproach in action.

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