Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Smallest insect filmed in flight

Date:
May 25, 2011
Source:
Wageningen University and Research Centre
Summary:
Scientists have taken high-speed camera footage of parasitic wasps with about a one mm wingspan. The team made films of the tiny flying insects at 22,000 frames per second. That is almost 900 times faster than a TV-screen can show. In the time between two TV images, the wasp has beaten its wings 14 times.

Parasitic wasp landed on a cabbage white butterfly.
Credit: Nina Fatouros

The Flight Artists team from Wageningen University, the Netherlands, has been the first to make high-speed camera footage of parasitic wasps of about 1 mm wingspan. The team made films of the tiny flying insects at 22,000 frames per second. That is almost 900 times faster than a TV-screen can show. In the time between two TV images, the wasp has beaten its wings 14 times.

Related Articles


This is the first time the flight behaviour of the parasitic wasp is observed, which is used as biological crop protector that kills the eggs from which harmful caterpillars grow. It was known that parasitic wasps hitchhike on top of larger insects, such as butterflies, but until now nobody had seen how the wasps were able to fly to the butterflies and their eggs.

The high speed movies show how the parasitic wasp jumps up into the air, elegantly flaps around, and then somehow lands -- the insect sometimes boldly lands face-first. Nevertheless the wasps are able to fly over some distance with their wings beating -- as the new images reveal -- at 350 strokes per second. The insect are estimated to weigh only about 1/40,000th of a gram, but it is not the smallest known insect; the Tanzanian parasitic wasp spans less than 0.3 mm, which is about 3 times smaller. This extremely small insect cannot be bred so far, therefore it can only be found and filmed in the wild.

The movies are made by researchers at Wageningen University, part of Wageningen UR, using a Phantom high-speed camera. This same camera will be made available to the nature amateurs, artists, and hobby photographers that applied to participate in the Flight Artists project. The project aims at involving the general public in scientific research into the way in which birds, bats, insects, and even seeds fly. They will use the newest high-speed video techniques to shoot images of fliers in Nature that fascinate them. A range of special lenses, lamps and field facilities is available to record details that are invisible to the naked eye; invisible, either because they are too small or, more likely, because they are too rapid for the observer. So far, 54 participants have been trained to take this extraordinary camera into the field.

See movie on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZyIN23Cy4Y


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wageningen University and Research Centre. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wageningen University and Research Centre. "Smallest insect filmed in flight." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110525105832.htm>.
Wageningen University and Research Centre. (2011, May 25). Smallest insect filmed in flight. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 5, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110525105832.htm
Wageningen University and Research Centre. "Smallest insect filmed in flight." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110525105832.htm (accessed March 5, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Tourists Visit Rare Grey Whales in Mexico

Raw: Tourists Visit Rare Grey Whales in Mexico

AP (Mar. 4, 2015) Once nearly extinct, grey whales now migrate in their thousands to Mexico&apos;s Vizcaino reserve in Baja California, in search of warmer waters to mate and give birth. Tourists flock to the reserve to see the whales, measuring up to 49 feet long. (March 4) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Australian Museum Shares Terrifying Goblin Shark With the World

Australian Museum Shares Terrifying Goblin Shark With the World

Buzz60 (Mar. 4, 2015) The Australian Museum has taken in its fourth-ever goblin shark, a rare fish with an electricity-sensing snout and &apos;alien-like&apos; jaw. Mike Janela (@mikejanela) takes a look. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Hormone Could Protect Against Diabetes And Weight Gain

New Hormone Could Protect Against Diabetes And Weight Gain

Newsy (Mar. 4, 2015) A newly discovered hormone mimics the effects of exercise, protecting against diabetes and weight gain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prince William Calls for Unified Effort Against Illegal Wildlife Trade

Prince William Calls for Unified Effort Against Illegal Wildlife Trade

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Mar. 4, 2015) Britain&apos;s Prince William pledges to unite against illegal wildlife trade on the final day of his visit to China. Rough cut - no reporter narration Video provided by Reuters
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