skip to content

Department of Zoology



Studies in insects have contributed particularly important insights into the role of interactions between identified non-spiking and spiking interneurons in generating and controlling natural movements such as walking, flying and jumping. These analyses have provided fundamental insights into the mechanisms by which sensory input and motor output are integrated in complex pre-motor networks. A particularly demanding movement is jumping. The control of this movement is being studied from both neurobiological and biomechanical perspectives using a combination of intracellular recording and staining techniques, behavioural analyses with high speed video and antibody staining. Recent studies have shown how energy is stored for the propulsive leg movements, how the motor pattern to the muscles is generated, and how interacting gears synchronise the movements of the legs.



Key publications: 

Sutton, G.P. and Burrows, M. (2018) Insect jumping springs Current Biology 28 (4), R142-R143

Burrows, M. and Dorosenko, M. (2017)  Take-off mechanisms in parasitoid wasps Journal of Experimental Biology 220 (20), 3812-3825

Clemente, C.J., Goetzke, H.H., Bullock, J.M.R., Sutton, G.P., Burrows, M.  Federle, W. (2017) Jumping without slipping: leafhoppers (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) possess special tarsal structures for jumping from smooth surfaces. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 14 (130), 20170022

Burrows, M. and Dorosenko, M (2017) Jumping performance of flea hoppers and other mirid bugs (Hemiptera, Miridae) Journal of Experimental Biology 220 (9), 1606-1617              

Siwanowicz, I. and Burrows, M.  (2017) Three dimensional reconstruction of energy stores for jumping in planthoppers and froghoppers from confocal laser scanning microscopy. eLife 6

Burrows, M. (2016) Development and deposition of resilin in energy stores for locust jumping. J. Exp. Biol. 219: 2449-2457.

Sutton, G.P., Dorosenko, M., Cullen, D.A., and Burrows, M. (2016) Take-off speed in jumping mantises depends on body size and a power-limited mechanism. J. Exp. Biol. 219: 2127-2136.

Rogers, S. M., Riley, J., Brighton, C., Sutton, G. P., Cullen, D. A. and Burrows, M. (2016) Increased muscular volume and cuticular specialisations enhance jump velocity in solitarious compared with gregarious desert locusts, Schistocerca gregaria. J. Exp. Biol.  219: 635-648.

Burrows, M. and Dorosenko, M. (2015) Jumping mechanisms in adult Caddis Flies (Insecta, Trichoptera). J. Exp. Biol. 218: 2764-2774.

Burrows, M. and Dorosenko, M. (2015) Jumping mechanisms in moths (Lepidoptera).   J. Exp. Biol. 218, 1655-1666.

Burrows, M., Cullen, D.A., Dorosenko, M. and Sutton, G.P. (2015) Mantises exchange angular momentum between three rotating body parts to jump precisely to targets.  Current Biol. 25:786-789.

Burrows, M. and Dorosenko, M. (2014) Jumping mechanisms in lacewings (Neuroptera, Chrysopidae and Hemerobiidae). J. Exp. Biol. 217: 4252-4261.

Burrows, M. (2014) Jumping mechanisms in flatid planthoppers (Hemiptera, Flatidae). J. Exp. Biol. 217: 2590-2600.

Burrows, M. and Dorosenko, M. (2014) Rapid swimming and escape movements in the aquatic larvae and pupae of the phantom midge Chaoborus (Diptera, Chaoboridae).  J. Exp. Biol. 217: 2468-2479.

Rogers, S.M., Cullen, D.A, Anstey, M.L., Burrows, M., Despland, E., Dodgson, T., Matheson, T., Ott, S.R., Stettin, K., Sword, G.A. and Simpson, S. J. (2014) Rapid behavioural gregarization in the desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria entails synchronous changes in both activity and attraction to conspecifics. J. Insect Physiol. 65: 9-26.

Burrows, M. (2014) Jumping mechanisms in dictyopharid planthoppers (Hemiptera, Dictyopharidae). J. Exp. Biol. 217: 402-413.

Burrows, M. Q & A. (2014) Malcolm Burrows. Curr. Biol. 24: R53-54.

Burrows, M., Meinertzhagen, I.A. and Bräunig, P. (2014) Slowly contracting muscles power the rapid jumping of planthopper insects (Hemiptera, Issidae). Cell Tissue Res. 355: 213-222.

Burrows, M. and Sutton, G.P. (2013) Interacting gears synchronise propulsive leg movements in a jumping insect. Science 341: 1254-1256.

Burrows, M. (2013) Jumping from the surface of water by the long-legged fly Hydrophorus (Diptera, Dolichopodidae.  J. Exp. Biol. 216: 1973-1981.

Burrows, M. (2013) Jumping mechanisms of treehopper insects (Hemiptera, Auchenorrhyncha, Membracidae). J. Exp. Biol. 216: 788-799.

Burrows, M. (2012) Pygmy mole crickets jump from the surface of water. Current Biol. 22: R990

Burrows, M. (2012) Locusts use a composite of resilin and hard cuticle as an energy store for jumping and kicking. J. Exp. Biol. 215: 3501-3512.

Bayley, T.M., Sutton, G.P. and Burrows, M. (2012) A buckling region in locust hind legs contains resilin and absorbs energy when jumping or kicking goes wrong. J. Exp Biol. 215: 1151-1161.

Badisco, L., Ott, S.R., Rogers, S.M., Matheson, T., Knapen, D., Vergauwen, L., Verlinden, H., Marchal, E., Sheehy, M.R.J., Burrows, M., Vanden Broeck, J. (2011) Microarray- based transcriptomic analysis of differences between long-term gregarious and solitarious desert locusts. PLoS One 6: e28110.

Picker, M., Colville, J. and Burrows, M. (2011) A cockroach that jumps. Biol. Letters  doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2011.1022.

Burrows, M., Rogers S.M. and Ott, S.R. (2011) Epigenetic remodelling of brain, body and behaviour during phase change in locusts. BMC Neural Systems and Circuits 1.11

Sutton, G.P. and Burrows, M. (2011) Biomechanics of jumping in the flea. J. Exp. Biol. 214: 836-847.

Burrows, M. and Picker, M.D. (2010) Jumping mechanisms and performance of pygmy mole crickets (Orthoptera, Tridactylidae). J. Exp. Biol. 213: 2386-2398.

Sutton, G.P. and Burrows, M. (2010) The mechanics of azimuth control in jumping by froghopper insects. J. Exp. Biol. 213: 1406-1416.

Burrows, M. and Bräunig, P. (2010) The actions of neurons and leg muscles in jumping by planthopper insects (Hemiptera, Issidae). J. Comp. Neurol. 518: 1349-1369.

Rogers, S. M., Harston, G. W. J., Kilburn-Toppin, F., Matheson, T., Burrows, M., Gabbiani, F. and Krapp, H. G. (2010) Spatiotemporal receptive field properties of a looming-sensitive neuron in solitarious and gregarious phases of the desert locust. J. Neurophysiol. 103: 779-792.

Burrows, M. (2010) Leg synchronisation and energy storage in jumping planthopper insects (Hemiptera, Issidae). J. Exp. Biol. 213: 469-478.

Burrows, M. (2009) Jumping performance of planthopper insects (Hemiptera, Issidae). J. Exp. Biol. 212: 2844-2855.

Burrows, M. (2009) A single muscle moves a crustacean limb joint rhythmically by acting against a spring. BMC Biology 7: 27.

Anstey, M.L., Rogers, S.M., Ott, S.R, Burrows, M. and Simpson, S.J. (2009) Serotonin mediates behavioural gregarization underlying swarm formation in desert locusts. Science 323: 627-630.

Other publications: 

Burrows, M. (1996)  The neurobiology of an insect brain. Oxford University Press.  696 pages.

Emeritus Professor of Zoology

Contact Details