Their large and powerful hind legs suggest that locusts are designed more for jumping than for walking, and indeed their performance when jumping approaches the maximum possible capabilities of a biological system. Adults jump by rapidly extending both hind legs at about the same time, to avoid predators and to initiate flight, while larvae boost their speed of locomotion by hopping. Locusts of all stages also repel adversaries by kicking rapidly with their hind legs, generally using them independently. The mechanisms underlying these jumping and kicking movements of the hind legs are basically similar, but are distinct from those used in walking. Both are ballistic movements that are only intermittently expressed at full power, but in kicking a hind leg is rotated at the coxa and the tarsus lifted from the ground, so that it can be aimed.
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