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Watch These Water Insects Engage in "Meniscus Climbing"

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This wonderful video, “Life at the Interface,” shows how insects who live on the water make use of, or get tripped up by, fluid dynamics. You can see insects shoot up towards the edge of a container or fall helplessly into one another.

Here’s a fun one! It shows you how bugs use fluid dynamics to their advantage. Everyone is familiar with the meniscus: it’s the tiny upward slope of the milk that’s near the edge of your bowl, or the little divots that coffee makes when it’s close to the edge of the mug.


Now what if you’re in the water, you’re tiny, and you can’t swim very well? The meniscus might look like an unclimbable mountain, or it might look like a quick way to get to the edge of where you’re going. Some insects look like they’re “falling up” the meniscus, a technique called “meniscus climbing.” They have different methods, but my favorite are the larva-looking-insects that arch their bodies up, creating their own little meniscus, and letting the two menisci combine.