Navigation Links
Flapping protective wings increase lift
Date:5/29/2012

New research from Lund University in Sweden reveals the value of carrying two layers of wings around. The researchers studied dung beetles and the way their protective forewings actually function. These wings do not only protect but also help the beetles to lift off from the ground albeit at a cost.

The forewings of beetles, the elytra, are hardened structures which protect the insect's flying wings and body. The function of the forewings in flight has been questioned, which is what prompted researchers at Lund University's Department of Biology to study how the forewings and the underlying flying wings work in dung beetles. The researchers studied the air flow created by the wings when the beetles fly in a wind tunnel. The wind tunnel in Lund is one of a few of its kind in the world.

"The results show that the forewings, which are held out and flap during flight, generate lift, helping the beetles to stay airborne", says Christoffer Johansson Westheim, researcher at Lund University.

The study also shows, however, that the beetles are less effective at generating lift than other animals, as a result of their forewings negatively affecting their flying wings. Thus the protection afforded by the hardened forewings comes at a cost in the form of lower efficiency in flight. One conclusion to be drawn from this is that if the flying wings alone could provide enough power to keep the insect in flight, the forewings would fold back over the body while the beetle is flying, which is precisely what happens in some species. The study is the first of its kind on beetles, but the researchers consider that the results could apply generally to beetles whose flying wings flap behind forewings despite the fact that the dung beetles are a fairly extreme case, with a body weight of 5-7 grams and a wingspan of around 15 centimetres.

The beetles used in the current study were captured in South Africa, where they normally fly at night over open terrain, on the hunt for dung. Their flight speed is high and the dung beetles are hardly known for their manoeuvrability. They often miss the dung they are looking for and land some way away from it, but they prefer to walk the last distance rather than attempt a more accurate landing. The research study is part of a project aiming to understand the adaptations of various animals to flight, and how the animals' different origins affect their capacity to fly.


'/>"/>

Contact: Christoffer Johansson Westheim
Christoffer.Johansson@biol.lu.se
46-462-224-955
Lund University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Soaring is better than flapping
2. Lead-flapping objects experience less wind resistance than their trailing counterparts
3. Following the leader can be a drag, according to students research on flapping flags
4. Folic acid food enrichment potentially protective against childhood cancers
5. Real smart: Protective clothing with built-in A/C
6. Estrogen hormone reveals protective ability after traumatic brain injury
7. The immune system has protective memory cells, researchers discover
8. Spray-on protective coating wins R&D 100 Award
9. Experimental radioprotective drug safe for lung cancer patients, says Pitt study
10. Good cholesterol structure identified, could help explain protective effects
11. Trojan Horse ploy to sneak protective drug into brains of stroke patients
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/9/2016)... Feb. 9, 2016 Vigilant Solutions announces today that ... (LPR) to develop a lead in a difficult homicide case. ... data to locate the suspect vehicle. Due to the ongoing ... have been omitted at the agency,s request. ... explains, "Our victim was found deceased at an intersection here ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... --> --> Fourth quarter 2015:   ... compared with fourth quarter of 2014. Gross margin was 46% ... Earnings per share increased to SEK 6.39 (loss: 0.49). ... , --> --> January ... (233.6), up 1,142% compared with 2014. Gross margin was 43% ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... NEW YORK , Feb. 2, 2016 ... healthcare facilities are primarily focused on medical ... that measure point-of-care parameters. Wearable devices that ... a user,s freedom of movement are being ... sensors for human biomedical signal acquisition coupled ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/12/2016)... , Feb. 12, 2016  PTC Therapeutics, Inc. ... annual STRIVE (Strategies to Realize Innovation, Vision and ... (DMD). STRIVE provides funds to patient advocacy organizations ... make meaningful contributions to the rare disease community ... of future patient advocates. Mary ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016  Vermillion, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... gynecologic disease, today announced the formation of the Steering ... --> --> Pelvic masses can ... diagnosis and management. Once pregnancy is ruled out, pelvic ... and ovaries, advanced endometriosis, benign ovarian tumors and gastrointestinal ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016  Wellcentive today announced ... Portland, Oregon -based community care organization ... population health analytics, quality reporting and care management ... strengthen its team of quality managers, analysts and ... the provider groups serving FamilyCare members. ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... 2016   BioInformant announces the February 2016 ... Products, Opportunities, Tools, and Technologies – Market Size, Segments, ... The first and only ... industry, BioInformant has more than a decade of historical ... by stem cell type. This powerful 175 page global ...
Breaking Biology Technology: