A Winter Wonder Anti-freeze Jumper

A Winter Wonder Anti-freeze Jumper

What living being thrives on the snow, has anti-freeze-like abilities, and a spring-loaded jumping system?  A snow hare gone mad?  A white-tailed deer dodging some crazy driver?  No – it’s a fascinating creature God made called the snow flea.

Actually, snow fleas aren’t fleas at all.  They are tiny like a flea (1/16th of an inch long), but they are harmless and do not fly.  Rather they jump around, like Mexican jumping beans. These curious critters are springtails, in the class Collembola.  Another name for them is springtail.  They live year-round but are more visible in the snow.  Wondering how they hop around?  Believe it or not, they have a very unique catapult system!  That’s right, a catapult system. Basically, two “tails” on their back end are tucked up underneath their belly, held in place by tiny “hooks.” To move, they just release the spring-loaded “tails,” called furcula, which hit the snow and send them flying into the air.  They can jump several inches, which is actually about one hundred times its own length.  This is equivalent to an adult jumping the length of two football fields.

If having its own catapult system isn’t enough, the snow flea boasts it’s very own “anti-freeze system” of sorts.  It allows the critter to function in the dead of winter.  Their bodies contain a special protein, which acts much like the anti-freeze Dad puts in the car’s radiator in the winter.  This protein binds to ice crystals as they form and prevents them from growing larger.  Researchers have found it to be unlike any other protein they’ve studied before.

The snow flea is undoubtedly one mysterious creature.  We can’t get into all the details about it here, but most people have never heard of it.  There are some aspects about it we don’t understand, but what we do know is this creature testifies to an amazing God!  It’s easy to wonder why God created the snow flea.  For the sheer joy of creating them?  To fascinate us?  We not only serve a loving God, but a God who delights in making us wonder, to be in awe of his creation, and even stumping us with something like the snow flea…

Photo Courtesy of Photobucket

IMG_0481 (2)Jennifer loves kids galore, & helping them reach their potential more.
Privileged to have taught in the past, she’s homeschooling her boys & having a blast (most days.)
She loves being married & living in the country, with an occasional 4-legged creature sighting.
She also enjoys running & photography – but especially the fun of rhyming her writing.
She and her husband Neil have two sons and live in Central Michigan.

 

 

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