High-speed Arthropod Week day 3: Hop, Skip, and Jump!

Doing these high speed videos has been a real eye-opener for me. I am amazed at how slowing down the movements of even common insects brings forth a new world to marvel at. It is reminiscent of the feeling of being a new macro photographer and just photographing insects constantly for the wonder of it all*.

So, the title refers tho the fact that every arthropod in this post displays some degree of hopping, skipping or jumping.

We start with a froghopper, the familiar Meadow Spittlebug, Philaenus spumarius. This insect, when disturbed, takes off at such a high rate that I had to record it at 6400 fps, and even then it was not totally frozen in each frame! I love the spiralling trajectory of these bulletlike insects.

This next video will show you exactly why a skipper (a butterfly in the family Hesperiiidae) is called a Skipper. These butterflies actually skip every few wingbeats, which gives their flight a real unpredictable jerkiness that likely helps them evade predators.

The following videos show a few examples of Neuropterans jumping as they take off, affording them a clear area for the downstroke of their relatively massive wings. The Green Lacewings are often referred to as “fairylike” in the appearance of their flight, as their light wing loading and bright colors make them seem like little winged sprites.


I really wanted to shoot a grasshopper hopping, but for some reason there seems to be a real lack of them (perhaps they are suffering due to our month-long drought in Vancouver)! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the videos. Let me know which you think is the coolest!


*actually, I am still in that phase!

7 thoughts on “High-speed Arthropod Week day 3: Hop, Skip, and Jump!

  1. I like the lacewings because you can see right through them, making the wing action and body action very clear. The skipper wing was very clear as well….it looked like a tank compared to the delicate lacewing. And the first one (spittlebug), could not see how on earth it propelled his big body off that leaf. All are quite amazing. So I guess I agree with allthingsbiological….the contrast IS fascinating. And I (and perhaps most other non-buggy people) would never even notice these things. THAT is what is most amazing.

  2. I like them all! Is it possible to include a second or two at the beginning of the video so we can focus on them sitting still? I didn’t have time to see the leafhopper until it was already in the air. Maybe that is just camouflage?

  3. I have had all of your high speed video posts open in Chrome since you posted them and finally watched them. Wow! These are wonderful! What a great thing to get to do and thanks for posting the results. The cercopids are FABULOUS!

    • I had fun doing them! I think I am beginning to understand why in a battle between hitting a shutter button and the insect flying away the insect always wins!

  4. Pingback: Friday 5: Counting Butterflies, Again! | The Dragonfly Woman

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