Animals That Hop

All animals have the ability to move in some sort or manner. Some fly, while others move through trees. Some running, some dig their route from place to place, and still others hop from point A to point B. Animals that hop can be defined (in the scientific sense) as having saltatorial locomotion. Saltation= jumping. Animals that hop are normally animals that are equipped with big, muscular hind limbs and sometimes, reduced forelimbs to aid them in this form of moving around.

Saltatorial animals can be found just about anywhere. But the definition can be tricky.  You might think of rabbits as great hoppers but rabbits don’t qualify as saltatorial because they don’t really hop. They use all four limbs for locomotion. It’s more of a front leg/back leg alternating run. To really be saltatorial, a mammal would need to be bipedal.

 

Animals that Hop Include:

Kangaroos, wallabies, and relatives (family Macropodidae).
Kangaroo rats (family Heteromyidae).
Springhares (also known as springhaas, a large African rodent in the family Pedetidae).
Jerboas and jumping mice (family Dipodidae).
Gerbils (subfamily Gerbillinae in the family Muridae).
Frogs – can jump 150 times their own body length. They are 2nd longest jumping among animals compared to body size.

Animals that Hop sometimes aren’t Animals (think insects)

The largest animal phylum belongs here, the Arthropoda, including insects, spiders, crabs, and their kin. All these organisms have a body divided into repeating segments, typically with paired appendages. Two smaller phyla, the Onychophora and Tardigrada, are close relatives of the arthropods and share these traits.

Amoung the arthropoda you will find some of the best hoppers.  A list of animals that hope wouldn’t be complete without including insects.

Fleas

Just a few years ago, scientists eventually answered the burning question,” How do fleas harness the explosive energy needed to jump ?” As it turns out, the little buggers push off with their toes instead of their knees, as was originally believed .

Fleas transmit their stored energy through leg segments that act as levers, pushing down on the toe to launch the tiny animals up to 13 inches, or 200 times their own body length .

Froghoppers

No, the froghopper isn’t a cross between a frog and a grasshopper! But the name isn’t this little creature’s only quirk. Froghoppers are best known for their plant-sucking nymph, which encase themselves in froth in springtime .

Froghopper

According to National Geographic, the froghopper,” a sap-sucking bug that coats plants with wads of foamy spitting” is the insect world’s greatest leaper. It has more jumping prowess than fleas, out hops the springiest grasshoppers, and clears the high bar more quickly than bush crickets .

The average length of an adult froghopper is merely. 12 inches, but it can launch itself up to 2 feet in the air. That’s the equivalent of you or me jumping over 600 feet !

Grasshoppers

The back legs of these little jumpers operate like a catapult. The muscles that power his back legs function as rubber bands. When the grasshopper readies for a jump, he contracts the large flexor muscles in his back legs slowly, while bending the legs at the knee joint .

Per About.com, “A special piece of cuticle within the knee acts as a spring, storing up all that potential energy .” When he’s ready to jump, he relaxed the leg muscles, allowing the spring to release its energy and catapulting his body into the air.
Once airborne, the grasshopper can choose to fly to even greater heights. If humans could jump in a similar way, we could easily cover the length of a football field !