Michael Marshall, reporter
If you like to avoid cockroaches, it may be rather difficult to stay clear of Saltoblatella montistabularis, a species that can jump. Malcolm Burrows of the University of Cambridge, UK and his team are investigating how far the roaches can leap and found that they can jump a distance of 35 centimetres, or about 48 times their own body length.
Lab studies revealed that the cockroaches experience accelerations of up to 23 g. “If you place one is in a glass vial and it jumps, you can hear a ting noise as it hits the top of the container,” says Mike Picker, a member of the team. They have evolved enormous hind legs much like those of grasshoppers, allowing them to jump in a similar fashion and rely on hopping as their main form of locomotion.
The species was first spotted on Table mountain in South Africa in 2006. It was formally described for the first time last year.