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Study finds cicadas could project high-speed jets of urine at you

Scroll down to watch how cicadas project jets of urine and could potentially spray you with their pee if you are considered a threat.
Study finds cicadas could project high-speed jets of urine at you
Posted at 12:29 PM, Mar 20, 2024

While most bugs release urine in droplets, cicadas take a more dramatic approach. 

A group of researchers found that these noisy little creatures can, in fact, project high-speed jets of urine. In a study published in PNAS, researchers explain that current models of how animals pee suggest that those who can jet urine are usually larger than 3 kilograms, and these new findings defy the current models as cicadas weigh about 2 grams.

“The assumption was that if an insect transitions from droplet formation into a jet, it will require more energy because the insect would have to inject more speed,” study researcher Elio Challita told Georgia Tech. "Previously, it was understood that if a small animal wants to eject jets of water, then this becomes a bit challenging, because the animal expends more energy to force the fluid’s exit at a higher speed. This is due to surface tension and viscous forces. But a larger animal can rely on gravity and inertial forces to pee."

According to the study, these creatures, which are actually set to reappear this spring in the billions with two separate sets of broods, can jet waste because it helps them cope with their low-nutrient diet and allows them to consume more food efficiently. They can also use these jets of pee for self-defense and to remove mud to build habitats, the study adds. 

Yes, you read that right: A cicada can totally spray you with their pee if you are considered a threat. 

The researchers were able to conduct this study while they were working in Peru and filmed many cicadas peeing on trees, which you can watch below.


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