Why do bugs die on their backs? (Smithsonian.com / ThinkStock)
Why do bugs die on their backs?
Lexile

Well, they don't all die that way, but many of them succumb to the laws of physics in their final moments. It's at that point that normal blood flow stops, the legs contract, and the bug gets top heavy. Inevitably, it falls over onto its back.

Of course, a stiff breeze or a curious pet can have the same effect, and once it finds itself belly up, it can be pretty tough for an insect to get back on its feet.

Bugs can normally rock themselves upright, but if it's injured or it's weak or it's sick, it can have a really hard time coordinating its limbs even more so if a pesticide is disrupting its nervous system, causing spasms and ultimately, a total system shutdown.

Critical thinking challenge: Which law of physics do most dead bugs succumb to?

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Assigned 40 times


COMMENTS (80)
  • sl2000soccer
    9/18/2014 - 08:40 a.m.

    The law of physics that most dead bugs succumb to is gravity because when the bug is dying, the normal blood flow stops, and the legs contract, and the bug gets top heavy. It is gravity because the bug falls on to its back because it cannot hold its weight upright and gravity does this.

  • JS2001basketball
    9/18/2014 - 08:41 a.m.

    The laws of physics the bugs are succumb to when the die is motion and weight because when they fall over all the weight hits their back and it would be hard to tip over again

  • NashMcComsey-Ste
    9/18/2014 - 09:38 a.m.

    I had never realized that bugs consistenly die on their backs before reading this article, but it was nice to be given a proper explanation as to why this happens.

    • AutumnB-Pay
      9/18/2014 - 01:00 p.m.

      The bugs roll on there backs when they die because of gravity.The blood flow stops in there legs and gravity turns them on there backs,

  • JamesW-Pay
    9/18/2014 - 12:58 p.m.

    I think bugs die on their backs because gravity pulls their backs down and flips them over. Since their backs are heavier, it's also harder for them to flip back over.

  • KaylaM-Pay
    9/18/2014 - 01:00 p.m.

    Most dead bugs succumb to gravity because their normal blood flow stops, making the bug top heavy and then they fall over onto their back.

  • ParthH-Pay
    9/18/2014 - 01:00 p.m.

    To answer the question Which law of physics do most dead bugs succumb to? the answer would be that most dead bugs succumb to gravity.

  • JessicaK-Pay
    9/18/2014 - 01:01 p.m.

    Gravity is a law of physics that bugs succumb to when dying, it is what makes the bug fall over when it dies. The top heavy bug is pulled toward the earth, which is gravity.

  • JessicaK-Pay
    9/18/2014 - 01:02 p.m.

    Gravity is a law of physics that bugs succumb to when dying, it is what makes the bug fall over when it dies. The top heavy bug is pulled toward the earth, which is gravity.

  • ParthH-Pay
    9/18/2014 - 01:02 p.m.

    To answer the question Which law of physics do most dead bugs succumb to? The answer would be that most dead bugs succumb to gravity.

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