Mexican jumping bean

Mexican jumping bean

noun

Origin:
1880–85

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

mexican jumping bean

the seed of certain Mexican shrubs, especially those of the genus Sebastiania, of the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae), that contain larvae of a small olethreutid moth (Laspeyresia salitans). The movements of the larvae feeding on the pulp within the seed, which are intensified by warmth, give the seed the familiar jumping movement

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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