a surprising discovery: the female locust has superhero-like abilities
Female locust. Credit: Tel Aviv University

A new Tel Aviv University study has discovered that the female locust has superpowers. The findings of the study reveal that the female locust’s central nervous system has elastic properties, allowing her to stretch up to two or three times her original length when laying her eggs in the ground, without causing any irreparable damage.

“We are not aware of a similar ability in almost any living creature,” say the researchers. “Nerves in the human nervous system, for example, can stretch only up to 30% without tearing or being permanently damaged. In the future, these findings may contribute to new developments in the field of regenerative medicine, as a basis for nerve restoration and the development of synthetic tissues.”

The study was conducted by a team of Tel Aviv University researchers led by Dr. Bat-El Pinchasik of the School of Mechanical Engineering in the Fleischman Faculty of Engineering and Prof. Amir Ayali of the School of Zoology in the Wise Faculty of Life Sciences.

Also participating in the study were Dr. Rakesh Das from the School of Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Moshe Guershon from the School of Zoology, and Prof. Eran Perlson and Amjd Ibraheem from the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology in the Sackler Faculty of Medicine. The research was published in iScience.

Dr. Pinchasik explains, “When the female locust is ready to lay her eggs, she digs a hole in the ground that will offer them protection and optimal conditions for hatching. For this purpose, she is equipped with a unique digging apparatus, consisting of two pairs of digging valves which are located at the tip of the abdomen, on either side of the ovipositor (a tube-like organ used for laying eggs).

“As she digs, the female extends her body, until sensors located along its length signal that she has reached a suitable point for depositing her eggs. Thus, an adult female, whose body length is about four to five centimeters, may, for the purpose of laying her eggs, stretch her body to a length of 10–15 centimeters, then quickly return to her normal length, and then extend again for the next egg-laying.”


Credit: Tel Aviv University

Prof. Ayali states, “The superpower of the locust is almost something out of science fiction. There are only two other known examples in nature of a similar phenomenon: the tongue of the sperm whale, and a certain type of sea snail whose nervous systems are able to extend significantly due to an accordion-like mechanism they have. We sought to identify the biomechanical mechanism that gives the female locust its wonderful ability.”

In the study, the researchers removed the central nervous systems from female locusts and placed them in a liquid simulating their natural environment, under physiological conditions similar to those inside the body. Using highly sensitive measuring instruments, they measured the forces needed to extend the nervous system.

Dr. Pinchasik says, “Contrary to previous hypotheses and examples we are familiar with, we did not find any accordion-like mechanism. We discovered that the nervous system of the female locust has elastic properties, which enable it to elongate and then return by itself to its original state, ready for reuse, without any damage caused to the tissue. This finding is almost incomprehensible from a biomechanical and morphological point of view.”

Prof. Ayali concludes, “In our study, we found that the central nervous system of the adult female locust is elastic and is able to stretch two to three times its original length and then return to it, without any damage being caused. This is an incredible ability that we don’t know of in any other animal. In further studies, we will investigate the matter in depth, with the aim of identifying the specific mechanism that enables this unique feature. We hope that in the future our findings will help to develop synthetic tissues with a high level of flexibility, and to restore nerves in regenerative medicine therapies.”

More information: Rakesh Das et al, The biomechanics of ultra-stretchable nerves, iScience (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.isci.2022.105295

Journal information: iScience

Provided by Tel Aviv University

Citation: A surprising discovery: The female locust has superhero-like abilities (2022, December 7) retrieved 7 December 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-12-discovery-female-locust-superhero-like-abilities.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

TECH NEWS RELATED

TikTok EU ban on the table if social network doesn’t comply with new laws

TikTok is one of the most popular social networks out there. But TikTok is also a cause of concern for western governments that worry about the company’s ties to the Chinese government. TikTok can’t run on most devices the US government issues, and there has been talk of a ...

View more: TikTok EU ban on the table if social network doesn’t comply with new laws

Don’t Buy a Foldable Until Samsung Brings This Prototype to Life

Samsung Display via The Verge The world of foldable phones is surprisingly stagnant. The Galaxy Z Fold gets a tiny little upgrade every year, and rival phone brands loosely copy Samsung’s homework. But a new Samsung Display prototype called the “Flex In & Out” could turn this narrative on ...

View more: Don’t Buy a Foldable Until Samsung Brings This Prototype to Life

Best free sports streaming apps in 2023

Cutting the cord on cable television is something tons of people have done over the past five years. But that hasn’t proven to be the smartest way to continue to watch sports. Whether it comes from premium sports website subscriptions to keep tabs on your favorite players, or even fantasy ...

View more: Best free sports streaming apps in 2023

Avengers 5 might have Ant-Man in it, Quantumania star teases

The first MCU Phase 5 movie will be Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, the third installment in the Ant-Man franchise and a film with much higher stakes than the previous episodes. The sequel will deliver the MCU’s first Kang (Jonathan Majors) villain after we met a somewhat good He Who ...

View more: Avengers 5 might have Ant-Man in it, Quantumania star teases

Sharing a Netflix Account? Get Ready to Pay For It

DANIEL CONSTANTE/Shutterstock.com Netflix is about to get serious in its efforts to eliminate freeloaders. If you share a Netflix account with family or friends outside your household, get ready to pay for it. A new “paid sharing” system could roll out starting next month, and you’ll have to pay a ...

View more: Sharing a Netflix Account? Get Ready to Pay For It

‘7 Wonders’ Board Game Gets a New ‘Edifice’ Expansion

Asmodee and Repos Production Board game lovers have a wonderful reason to celebrate today. Board game makers Asmodee and Repos Production announced their latest collaboration: 7 Wonders Edifice, an expansion to the popular board game 7 Wonders. The game launches on February 24th for $29.99. 7 Wonders: Edifice adds ...

View more: ‘7 Wonders’ Board Game Gets a New ‘Edifice’ Expansion

T-Mobile Kicks Off 2023 With Another Data Breach

r.classen / Shutterstock.com In a press release, T-Mobile confirms that it detected a data breach in its systems on January 5th. A “bad actor” managed to steal personal information (but not financial data) from around 37 million customers. This is the eighth T-Mobile data breach since 2018. The hacker ...

View more: T-Mobile Kicks Off 2023 With Another Data Breach

Apple appeals to UK competition watchdog investigation about mobile browser dominance

Apple has filed an appeal against the UK’s competition watchdog regarding its dominance of mobile browsers in the cloud gaming market, reports Reuters. The Competition and Markets Authority started investigating this dominance by the Cupertino firm and Google. Lawyers representing Apple believe the investigation should be reviewed as CMA ...

View more: Apple appeals to UK competition watchdog investigation about mobile browser dominance

Galaxy S23 Ultra release date and specs leak finally reveals everything about the new model

WhatsApp for iOS rolling out the ability to create a chat with yourself

Amazon Prime Music Unlimited changes streaming prices, now matches Apple Music

Deadpool 3 and Secret Wars to feature Fox’s X-Men, according to Marvel insider

Report: OLED iPad Pro still on track for 2024 release, 2026 for MacBook Pro

How to negotiate over practically anything

HomePod 2 praised in exclusive hands-on before launch

M2 Pro MacBook Pro Amazon preorder deal gives you $50 off

What “choice” means for millions of women post-Roe

Singapore FinTech firm Pilon secures $5.2M seed funding led by Wavemaker Partners

Capital Square Partners and Basil Technology team up for $700M tech fund in Asia

This feel-good movie about man’s best friend is dominating Netflix

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News