Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Solving A Dragonfly Flight Mystery

Date:
September 27, 2007
Source:
American Physical Society
Summary:
Dragonflies adjust their wing motion while hovering to conserve energy, according to a new study of the insect's flight mechanics. The revelation contradicts previous speculation that the change in wing motion served to enhance vertical lift. Physicists came to their conclusions after analyzing high speed images of dragonflies in action. The insects have two pairs of wings, which sometimes move up and down in harmony. At other times the front set of wings flap out of sync with the back set.

Dragonflies have two pairs of wings, which sometimes move up and down in harmony. At other times the front set of wings flap out of sync with the back set.
Credit: iStockphoto/Alan Goulet

Dragonflies adjust their wing motion while hovering to conserve energy, according to a Cornell University study of the insect's flight mechanics. The revelation contradicts previous speculation that the change in wing motion served to enhance vertical lift.

The Cornell physicists came to their conclusions after analyzing high speed images of dragonflies in action. The insects have two pairs of wings, which sometimes move up and down in harmony. At other times the front set of wings flap out of sync with the back set.

The physicists found that dragonflies maximized their lift, when accelerating or taking off from a perch, by flapping both sets of wings together. When they hover, however, the rear wings flap at the same rate as the front, but with a different phase (imagine two people clapping at the same speed, but with one person's clap delayed relative to the other).

The physicists' analysis of the out-of-sync motion showed that while it didn't help with lift, it minimized the amount of power they had to expend to stay airborne, allowing them to conserve energy while hovering in place.

The research will be detailed in a forthcoming issue of Physical Review Letters. The authors are Z. Jane Wang and David Russell.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Physical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Physical Society. "Solving A Dragonfly Flight Mystery." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070924142926.htm>.
American Physical Society. (2007, September 27). Solving A Dragonfly Flight Mystery. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070924142926.htm
American Physical Society. "Solving A Dragonfly Flight Mystery." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070924142926.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Ice Age Wooly Mammoth Remains for Sale

Raw: Ice Age Wooly Mammoth Remains for Sale

AP (Sep. 23, 2014) A rare, well-preserved skeleton of a woolly mammoth is going on sale at Summers Place Auctions hope the 11.5-foot tall, almost intact specimen will fetch between $245,000 to $409,000. (Sept. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fox Bites Conn. Student And School Staffers In Rare Attack

Fox Bites Conn. Student And School Staffers In Rare Attack

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) A fox attacked a second-grade boy at a Connecticut elementary school Monday. It also attacked two school staff members and a woman and her dog. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Will Living Glue Be A Thing?

Will Living Glue Be A Thing?

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) Using proteins derived from mussels, engineers at MIT have made a supersticky underwater adhesive. They're now looking to make "living glue." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tiger Kills Man at India Zoo

Raw: Tiger Kills Man at India Zoo

AP (Sep. 23, 2014) A white tiger killed a young man who climbed over a fence at the New Delhi zoo and jumped into the animal's enclosure on Tuesday, a spokesman said. (Sept. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins