Why do insects die with their legs up?

Have you ever wondered why insects die in the same position? Beetles, cockroaches, flies, crickets, and even spiders always seem to die on their backs.

This phenomenon has been the subject of much debate among amateur insect enthusiasts and professional entomologists. In some ways, it’s almost a “chicken or egg” scenario – did the insect die because it was stranded on its back and unable to stand upright? Or did the insect get on its back because it was dying?

There are some hypotheses about it and they are far more prosaic than it seems. The most common one claims that s dying insect cannot maintain tension on its leg muscles and naturally falls into a relaxed state. In this relaxed state, the legs will bend or flex, causing the insect or spider to tip over and land on its back.

Another common debatable explanation concerns the circulation of blood in the body of a dying insect. When an insect dies, the blood stops flowing in the legs. Subsequently its relatively small legs start to contract and bend under its considerably heavier body, the laws of physics come into play and the bug flips over onto its back.

Others argue that it is a question of centre of gravity. While in humans it is located at pelvis level, which is why we fall on our stomach or back, in the majority of insects, their centre of gravity is located slightly above their back, so when they die, they fall on their back. In addition, insecticides cause paralysis, so falling on one’s back is guaranteed.

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