why do water bugs die on their back

Dead or dying insects assume a familiar pose: lying on their back, legs sticking up in the air. This tell-tale position is actually a symptom of an ailing bug's decreased coordination and failing nervous system. Normally, if a bug is knocked onto its back, it can use its legs to rock on its sides until it rights itself. If, however,
can't roll back onto its abdomen because it has become too weak or because its nervous system isn't functioning properly, it remains stuck on its back. Because the bug can't get nutrients or protect itself from predators or when it's immobilized in this position, it soon dies if it can't flip back over. Several things can hinder an insect's ability to resituate itself.


Ingesting pesticides and disrupts the bug's neurotransmitters and shuts down its nervous system. As a side effect, most pesticides cause an insect to go into convulsions, during which it uncontrollably kicks up its legs and often gets stuck on its back. With its compromised and its coordination declining, the bug lacks the ability to synchronize all of its legs in order to roll over onto its side and stand back up. Depending on the pesticide, a bug can die within hours or days of ingesting the poison. An injury or a lack of food or water can also compromise a bug's ability to right itself. Or the bug could simply be at the end of its lifespan and its strength and coordination abilities are declining.


Follow Remy Melina on Twitter @RemyMelina Why do bugs always seem to die on their backs? Riverside, California This is a matter of physics. As the bug nears death, normal blood flow ceases, causing the legs to contract inwardly. Without the support of the legs, the body becomes top-heavy, and usually falls upside-down. Gary F. Hevel entomologist, Natural History Museum What is the origin of applause? East Nassau, New York We don t know exactly when and why applause, or at least making noise with the hands to express approval or enjoyment, became nearly universal among humans.


Chimpanzees also clap their hands to express excitement and other emotions, suggesting that it may have been part of the behavioral repertoire of the common ancestor of modern humans and chimpanzees. paleoanthropologist, Human Origins Program, Natural History Museum Do radiotelescopes listen to the universe or see the universe? Silver Spring, Maryland Radiotelescopes focus and detect radio waves, which are a form of light, not sound. The only difference between visible light and radio waves is wavelength about 0. 00005 centimeters for the former and about 1 centimeter for the latter. So radiotelescopes see what your eyes could see if they were sensitive to the longer wavelength as well as much larger, given that radiotelescopes range up to 100 meters in diameter.


Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Not one to hide from the bitter truth, our host, Eric Schulze dishes up the answer If the Titanic had dropped its anchor before hitting the iceberg, would that have mitigated the disaster? D. R. Cardinale Avondale, Louisiana Not at all. The water at the collision site was 12,500 feet deep far too deep for the anchor chain. Once the chain was completely played out, the end likely would have flown out of the chain locker and plummeted to the bottom.


And even if the end of the chain held fast, the anchor would have hung uselessly in the deep, with nothing to grasp nearby. Paul F. Johnston curator of maritime history, American History Museum Do mammals besides humans gray with age? Glendora, California Some do. Domestic animals, notably dogs and horses, can become quite grizzled on their muzzles. Some wild animals also turn gray, and it typically seems to indicate not just maturity, but also power in the males of some species, such as the silverback in a band of gorillas or a California sea lion bull with his platinum-colored sagittal crest. great cats animal keeper, National Zoo It's your turn to