Horsetail plant spore (c) Philippe Marmottant
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Horsetail plant spores walk and jump, footage reveals

Researchers have discovered a strange new type of movement in plants - tiny spores that walk and jump.

Lead researcher Philippe Marmottant from Joseph Fourier University, Grenoble, initially examined the spores under the microscope and saw their movement.

But it was only when he combined the microscope with a high-speed camera that he revealed the plants were not only moving, but walking and jumping.

Their motion is driven by four moisture-sensitive legs, or elaters, which change shape when the moisture level changes - curling and uncurling to power the spores' insect-like walk or causing them to spring from the ground.

Here Dr Marmottant describes some of the footage he captured in his experiments.

Footage courtesy of Philippe Marmottant

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