Ventral view of the pigweed flea beetle showing the huge femora of the back legs characteristic of flea beetles. They allow the beetle to jump like a flea. Not only does this beetle have the capability to jump a considerable distance, it also can stick tenaciously to smooth surfaces. For example, this beetle rode on my windshield at 60 mph for 5 miles before we stopped to collect it. Even more impressive, it was able to walk on the glass during the trip. The image was taken through a plastic petri dish and is not the best, but you can see two pads on the tarsi that allow the insect to stick so well (most clear in the first pair of legs). One pad is triangular and the other is more oval and divided in half by the tarsal claws. Both are covered in fine hair-like structures that either provide griping power through physical interactions with the surface or by producing a glue-like substance. In any event, the beetle regularly cleans these pads by wiping them on the stiff hairs of the preceeding pair of legs. The back legs also get cleaned when they are brushed over the end of the abdomen.
ColeopteraChrysomelidaeDisonycha glabratapigweed flea beetleventrallegs