top of page

Media coverage

Below are some examples of media coverage of our research.  There’s probably more out there, but likely it derives from these sources.


Could the science behind flying snakes help create flying robots? By Roxy Todd, Radio IQ, NPR, February 9, 2023.


Brood X cicadas are busy and so are the scientists who study them. By Nell Greenfieldboyce, All Things Considered, NPR, May 25, 2021.

Latch, load and release: Advanced Photon Source helps reveal elastic motion that makes click beetles click. Newswise. February 1, 2021.

Spring and latch mechanism flings click beetles into the air. Michael Allen, physics world. January 29, 2021.

Nature uses springs and latches to overcome the limitations of muscles. By Sandy Field, APS Science Highlight. January 28, 2021.

Mechanism that produces rapid acceleration in clicking beetles identified. By Laura McWhinney, EurekAlert. January 21, 2021. 

Video: One of nature's most deceptive insects is helping build a better robot. By Sarah Wells, Inverse, January 19, 2021.

Interdisciplinary team identifies mechanism that produces rapid acceleration in clicking beetles. By Laura McWhinney, Virginia Tech press release. January 18, 2021. 

Latch, load and release: Elastic motion makes click beetles click, study finds. EurekaAlert. January 18, 2021.


Flying snakes? Here's how they can glide through the air. By Jack Guy, CNN, July 30, 2020. 

How do flying snakes glide through the air? ‘It’s hard to believe’. By David Waldstein, New York Times, July 29, 2020. 

How flying snakes stay stable while gliding through the air. By Shamini Bundell, Nature Video, July 29, 2020. 

How snakes fly (hint: it's not on a plane). By Nell Greenfieldboyce, All Things Considered, NPR, July 29, 2020. 

Flying snakes wiggle their bodies to glide down smoothly from trees. By Donna Lu, New Scientist, July 29, 2020. 

Here’s how flying snakes stay aloft. By Emily Conover, Science News, July 29, 2020. 

Did you know flying snakes existed? By Amanda Arnold, The Cut, New York magazine, July 2, 2020. 

Undulating their bodies keeps flying snakes from tumbling out of control. By Jennifer Ouellette, ars Technica, July 2, 2020. 

New 3-D model shows how the paradise tree snake uses aerial undulation to fly. EurekAlert, June 29, 2020,, June 29, 2020. 

Scientists use 3D modeling to find out how this snake can fly. By Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, July 26, 2020. 

Here's How Snakes Fly Through the Air | #ScientistFridays. By Nicole O'Brien, Discovery Canada, July 24, 2020. 

How snakes fly. Flying snakes are able to glide across the air like acrobats. Here’s how they do it. By Nikolay Nikolov and Emmett Smith,, July 22, 2020. 

Researchers use 3D modeling to decode aerial undulation’s role in flying snake glides. Press release by Suzanne Irby, Virginia Tech, June 26, 2020.

Gravity affects insect blood flow like in humans, says study with Virginia Tech ties. By Henri Gendreau, Roanoke Times, January 24, 2020.


How grasshoppers deal with blood rushing to their heads. By Nicholas Gerbis, 91.5 KJZZ, January 17, 2020. 


Scientists put grasshoppers in a linear accelerator to see what happens when they're upside down. By Kristy Hamilton, IFL Science, January 17, 2020. 

Like humans, grasshoppers grapple with gravity’s effects on blood pressure. By Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, January 14, 2020. 

How insects cope when blood rushes to their heads. By James Gorman, New York Times, January 13, 2020.

How do X-ray images helped reveal insects' physiological responses to gravity? EurekAlert, January 13, 2020,, January 13, 2020. 

ASU researcher unlocks mysteries of grasshopper response to gravity. Press release by Melinda Weaver, ASU, January 13, 2020.

X-ray images help reveal insects’ physiological responses to gravity. Press release by Laura Weatherford, Virginia Tech, January 13, 2020.


Research on how mosquitoes drink could yield new efforts to control the spread of disease. By Todd Corillo. Story and television interview (WTKR, Virginia Beach, VA) of Dr. Jake Socha, June 22, 2018. 

How mosquitoes drink and why it matters. Radio interview (WINA, Charlottesville, VA) of Dr. Jake Socha, March 26, 2018. 

Argonne’s X-rays used to identify new mode of drinking in mosquitos., March 23, 2018.

The science behind torturing mosquitoes. By Mike Wehner, New York Post, March 21, 2018. Originally published in BGR.

Discovered mode of drinking in mosquitoes carries biomedical implications. Science Newsline, March 21, 2018. EurekAlert, March 20, 2018,  Science Daily,, March 20, 2018. 

Mosquitoes drink with a burst in reserve.  Science highlight by the Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory, March 20, 2018.

Newly discovered mode of drinking in mosquitoes carries biomedical implications. Press release by Emily Roediger, Virginia Tech, March 20, 2018. 

Video: Interview with Dr. Jake Socha on new mosquito research.  Produced by Emily Roediger, Virginia Tech, March 19, 2018.


A New Prehistory television episode, "What killed the giant insects?" Produced by Emma Baus and Saint Thomas Productions. 


SuperNature: Wild Flyers television episode 1, "Defying Gravity". Produced by Dr. Simon Bell. Premiered on PBS on June 29, 2016. Blog item.

Slithering to fly. By Lindsay Key, BIOTRANS magazine, June 2016.


Fluid dynamics on four legs: The brilliance of how dogs drink. By Sean Greene, LA Times, December 18, 2015.

Ever think about the difference in how dogs and cats drink water? By Robbie Harris, NPR, December 2015.

Virginia Tech researchers learn how a dog drinks water. By Rick Pantaleo, VOA, December 14, 2015.

To Breathe, Immature Beetles Flex Their Abs Like Belly Dancers. By Janet Fang, June 23, 2015.

Video: Young beetles pump their abs to breathe. By Juan David Romero, Science, June 22, 2015.


Flying Snake Morphs into UFO Shape to Glide. By Tia Ghose,, January 29, 2014.


Zoologger: Flying snake gets lift from UFO cross section. By Sandrine Ceurstemont, NewScientist, January 29, 2014.


Watch Tree Snakes Fly: They Don’t Need a Plane. By Rebecca Boyle, Popular Science, January 30, 2014.


Secrets of Flying Snakes Revealed. By Rebecca Morelle, BBC, January 30, 2014.


Ophidiophobics beware: flying snakes have great aerodynamics. By Will Dunham, Reuters, January 30, 2014.


Biologists Offer Insights into Flight of Paradise Flying Snake., January 30, 2014. 


Daily Planet television segment.  An interview on flying snake research, by the Daily Planet on Discovery Channel Canada, February 2014.


UFO cross-section gives snakes a lift. By Lynn Nystrom, Virginia Tech press release, February 03, 2014.


Science Take: Flying Snakes. By David Frank and James Gorman, The New York Times, February 19, 2014.


Eek! Snakes can fly! By Tamara Dietrich, Daily Press, March 06, 2014.


The Elegant Secrets of Flying Snakes. By Linton Weeks, NPR, March 07, 2014.


Researchers closing in on solving mystery of how some snakes fly. By Meeri Kim, The Washington Post, March 09, 2014. 


Serpentine Style: The Physics of Flying Snakes.  By Jennifer Ouellette, Scientific American, March 14, 2014.


Flying Snakes May Inspire Future Gliding Suits. By Katia Moskvitch,, April 01, 2014.


Video: Why dogs are such sloppy drinkers. By David Shultz, Science, November 24, 2014.


Physicists study why dogs are sloppier drinkers than cats. NBC News, November 25, 2014.


Video Feature: For Dogs, an Eight G Water Break. By David Frank and James Gorman, The New York Times, December 08, 2014


How flying snakes fly. Science 2.0, December 30, 2014




How do snakes fly? Just ask your favorite graphics chip. By Robert McMillan, Wired, October 31, 2013.

Mimicking nature in engineering. By Lynn Nystrom, Virginia Tech, February 19, 2013.

Nature's phenomena might teach Virginia Tech engineers new tricks. By Lynn Nystrom, Virginia Tech, February 28, 2013.




Snakes that fly – really. TEDx Talk by Jake Socha, TEDx Virginia Tech, December 06, 2012.




The following are all related to our work on flying snake gliding flight:


Pentagon seeks flying snakes' secret.  By Marc Kaufman, The Washington Post, November 22, 2010.


**Note that the statement “It allows them to travel from the top of the biggest trees in the region (almost 200 feet high) to a spot about 780 feet away from the tree's trunk.” may be misleading if read incorrectly.  This statement refers to the possibility that the snakes can glide this far.  I provided Mr. Kaufman that figure as a hypothetical, calculated by extrapolating my published data: If the snake jumped from a tree roughly 60 meters high (197 ft) and traveled at a glide angle of 13°, it would cover roughly 237 m (778 ft) horizontally.  No real flying snake has ever been observed gliding this far.** 


Flying snakes' secret revealed. By Stephanie Pappas,, November 22, 2010.  Also found at and, among others.


How snakes can fly.  By Ker Than, National Geographic Daily News, November 23, 2010.


Flying snakes, caught on tape. From the AIP press release (written by Kathy Svitil) on, November 23, 2010.


Video reveals how a flying snake slithers through the air. By Jennifer Walsh, Discover magazine 80beats blog, November 23, 2010.


NPR All Things Considered.  Interview on NPR by Mary Louise Kelly, November 24, 2010.


Sakes Alive! Snakes That Fly! By Mark Memmott, NPR “The Two-Way”, November 24, 2010. 


Daily Planet television segment.  An interview on flying snake research, by the Daily Planet on Discovery Channel Canada, November 24, 2010.


Video: See snakes fly: Virginia Tech researchers are learning how the reptiles are able to glide so gracefully to the ground.  By Jef Akst, The Scientist, November 24, 2010.


Flying ophidians! Physicists uncover how snakes soar between trees. By Katherine Harmon, Scientific American online, November 24, 2010.


(Note: none of us are actually physicists--of the four of us on the paper, two are biomechanists and two are engineers. I imagine physicists rolling their eyes, while we are complimented.)


Pentagon wants secret of flying snakes. By Lee Speigel, AolNews, November 24, 2010.


It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s a flying snake. By Sindya Bhanoo, The New York Times, November 29, 2010.  


(Note: Snakes were not ‘thrown’ from the tower.  They launched under their own volition.  See the journal article here.)


Aerodynamics of flying snakes.  An online video piece by Reuters television produced by Marie Lora, December 2, 2010.


Snakes with no #&%*$$!! plane!  An interview on the CBC Radio program Quirks and Quarks with Bob McDonald, December 4, 2010.   Listen here.


The Conversation: Flying snakes?  An online interview with ABC News Video, December 7, 2010. (Note: they edited out Dr. Robert Dudley’s name, the professor I mentioned as my source of inspiration.) 


A new, one hour film by National Geographic on gliding snakes and colugos:


“Snakes That Fly”  This program debuted on the National Geographic Channel on November 5, 2010, part of the series “Nature Untamed”.  The other researcher in the film is Norman Lim, who was one of my original flying snake team members from my research in Singapore in the early 2000’s.  Norman went on to study the ecology of colugos and is currently a graduate student at UC Davis.


The following are all related to the work on caterpillar locomotion:


Caterpillar crawl could inspire new robots. By Roseanne Skirble, Voice of America, July 29, 2010.  Listen to the audio story here.


Caterpillars' gut-sliding locomotion inspires soft-bodied robot development.  By Ben Coxworth,, July 27, 2010.


New insight into a caterpillar’s crawl.  By Kenneth Chang, The New York Times, July 26, 2010.


Studying caterpillars to design robots.  By Carolyn Y. Johnson, The Boston Globe, July 26, 2010.  (Note: Dr. Socha’s PhD advisor, Dr. Michael LaBarbera, is quoted.)


Gut check: how do caterpillars walk?  By Geoffrey Brumfiel, NPR Morning Edition, July 23, 2010. Listen to the audio story here.  Dr. LaBarbera gets a nice audio quote.


‘Soft robots’ will use gut-wrenching propulsion method: Bowel-churning caterpillar boffinry breakthrough.  By Lewis Page, The Register, July 23, 2010.  Notable for usage of ‘boffins’ and ‘squidgy’.


Gut movements in caterpillars have impact on robotic design. By Lynn Nystrom, Virginia Tech press release, July 22, 2010.  (Eureka Alert version of this story)


Caterpillars move guts-first. By Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News, July 22, 2010.


Gut first. By Rachel Ehrenberg, Science News, July 22, 2010.


Insect gut has mind of its own. Christina Luigi, The Scientist, July 22, 2010.  Also quotes Dr. LaBarbera.


ScienceShot: Caterpillar's guts crawl independently of their bodies.  Kristen Minogue, Science, July 22, 2010.


Unique means of animal locomotion reported for first time: Novel “two-body” system in caterpillars could have implications for robotics, human biomechanics.  By Kim Thurler, Tufts University press release, July 22, 2010.




Bring fruit flies in from the cold. From the U. Western Ontario press release, plus other links to stories. December 21, 2009.


The secrets of the lowly ground beetle could lead to better tissue engineering. By Lynn Nystrom, Virginia Tech press release, September 3, 2009.



Why today’s bugs aren’t giant-sized. By Robin Lloyd,, August 14, 2007.


Giant bugs a thing of the past, study suggests.  By Hope Hameshige, National Geographic News, July 30, 2007.

A complicated way of breathing.  By Stefan Anitel, Softpedia News, May 18, 2007.

Beetle breathing highly complex, study finds. By Jeanna Bryer,, May 17, 2007.



Look ma, no wings. Reader’s Digest Canada magazine, October 2005. p. 18.

Journal Science “Netwatch” feature (pdf).  Science 309:361,  July 15, 2005.

Those amazing young snakes are flying machines. By Lynn M. Savage, Biophotonics 

International magazine, July 2005, pp. 86-87.

Audio: KW Magazine interview (FM 98.5 Waterloo, ON, Canada). KW Magazine. 8 min 47 sec, 6 mb mp3.


Audio: 848 interview (Chicago Public Radio). Interviewer is Gianofer Fields, WBEZ Chicago, 848.  15 min 15 sec, 14.5 mb mp3.  (Link directly to 848’s site is here; scroll down to ‘Flying snakes’.)

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a snake!  By Lee Dye,, May 19, 2005.

Daily Planet television segment.  An interview on flying snake research by the Daily Planet on Discovery Channel Canada, May 18, 2005.

University of Chicago researchers reveal secrets of snake flight. By Catherine Gianaro, University of Chicago press release, May 13, 2005.

Flying snakes: new videos reveal how they do it. By Bjorn Carey,, May 12, 2005.



Snake Wranglers II: Flying Snakes.  National Geographic Television. First broadcast, March 2004.  A half-hour program about on flying snake research.




Serpents in the air (a little contortionist goes a long way). By Adam Summers, Natural History magazine, May 2003. pp. 38-39.




Expert tackles mysteries of soaring snakes. By Nancy Moffett, Chicago Sun-Times, December 24, 2002.


When snakes fly.  By Henry Fountain. The New York Times, August 13, 2002.


Remarkable wingless aeronautics. The Economist, August 10, 2002.


Slithering on Air: Flying snakes glide through the treetops. By Kristin Cobb. Science News, Aug. 10, 2002.


Tropical snake flies from trees. By Al Swanson, UPI.  August 8, 2002.


Where serpents go soaring. By Jim Ritter. Chicago Sun-Times, August 8, 2002


New snake footage uncoils mystery of flying serpents. By John Roach. National Geographic News, August 8, 2002.


Flying snakes slither through the air. By Ann Kellan. Broadcast on CNN and, August 8, 2002.


Tired of walking fish? Try flying snake.  (Reuters), August 8, 2002.


General features:


National Geographic flying snake profile

Seed magazine photography profile: “Jake’s flying snakes”. 


bottom of page