So how does a squishy little larva with no legs—described by lab manager Grace Farley as "like a little puff Cheeto"—hurl its 0.1 inch body nearly 5 inches in just 2.5 seconds? One crucial element is a sort of virtual leg, which the maggots create momentarily by bending themselves into rings. Fluid builds in the tail-end of the loop, creating pressure as that portion of the body swells. When this energy releases, it's as if the larva has a leg to spring itself up with. But with a closer look, Patek and her team saw something even more interesting at work: to build up all that tension, the larvae have to be able to stick their top and tail end together. It's when that bond finally breaks that the worm-like creatures go flying. Examinations with an electron microscope revealed itty bitty ridges on the spots that do the sticking. These might work like velcro, or they might use properties similar to the ridges on geckos' feet, but they're almost certainly key to the process. And what a process it is: According to analysis from co-author Greg Sutton of the University of Lincoln, the maggots would have to use 28.75-times as much energy to travel the same distance by crawling. That's the difference between jogging for a mile and change and doing an entire marathon. The species doesn't take advantage of this cost-effective means of transport very often, because they generally stay inside their cozy galls until they've got wings. It's likely just an evolutionary holdover from a time when they spent more of their lives on the ground, as some of their close relatives do, but it's surprising that such a proficient jumper would wind up doing away with the need for speedy leaping.