Bat Flying

Botoxed Bats Billow in the Wind. 

Bat wings consists of a skin-covered fibrous membrane attached to the sides of their bodies and extending over their arms and elongated fingers.  The wings also contain long thin thread-like muscles embedded in the wing membrane.  Researchers at Brown University, USA, set out to see how these contribute to bat flight by getting bats to […]

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Skydiving Salamanders

The wandering salamander is tree dwelling amphibian than living the canopy of some of the tallest trees in the world – coastal redwoods.  Like many animals that live in tree canopies it can jump off tree limbs and land safely further down the tree after a controlled glide.  The salamanders are well suited to a […]

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Tiny insects flying

How Featherwing Beetles Fly

Featherwing beetles are the world’s smallest beetles – less than 0.4mm long.  They are named featherwing because their wings consist of bristles rather than a solid sheet of tissue as in other flying insects.  The individual bristles have outgrowths giving them a brushlike appearance and their wings are folded under a pair of wing cases, […]

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Dragonfly Flying

Alive or dead, they are flipping good at it!

Alive or dead, they are flipping good at it! Dragonfly backflips described in articles in ScienceDaily 9 February 2021, Imperial College London news 10 February 2021, and PNAS 10 February 2021 doi: 10.1098/rspb.2020.2676.  Dragonflies are noted for superb aerial manoeuvres, including flying backwards, but even the most agile flyer can be knocked off balance or […]

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Efficient Butterfly Flight

Efficient butterfly flight reported in BBC News 20 January 2021, ScienceDaily 21 January 2021 and Journal of The Royal Society Interface 20 January 2021 doi: 10.1098/rsif.2020.0854. Two researchers at the Swedish Lund University have studied the fluttery flight of butterflies, which has traditionally been considered ungainly and inefficient.  Per Henningsson and Christoffer Johansson commented in […]

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How The Biggest Bird Flew

How the biggest bird flew described in an article in ABC (Australia) News in Science 3 July 2007. Sankar Chatterjee, of Museum of Texas Tech University, and his colleagues, have used flight simulation software to analyse the aerodynamics of an enormous fossil bird named Argentavis magnificens which had a seven metre wingspan and may have […]

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How Moths Hover

How moths hover, described in reports in BBC News 18 April 2013 and Journal of Experimental Biology (JEB) doi: 10.1242/jeb.087494. The study of insect flight often involves experiments using tethered insects in a flight arena. Scientists have noted that these tethered insects tend to make exaggerated movements of their abdomens. Jonathan Dyhr, a biologist at […]

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How Flying Fish Fly

How flying fish fly, described in e! Science News 9 Sept 2010, and Journal of Experimental Biology (JEB) doi: 10.1242/jeb.050880 and ScienceShots, 10 Sept 2010. Flying fish have been observed to leap out of the water and glide for distances of up to 400m (1,300ft) at speeds of 70km/h. Haecheon Choi and Hyungmin Park, two […]

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How Bats Fly

How bats fly described in ScienceNOW and news@nature 10 May 2007 and BBC News 11 May 2007. Researchers at Lund University, Sweden have studied bats flying through a fine mist in a wind tunnel to find out how they fly. The research turned up some significant differences from the way birds fly. When birds fly, […]

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Why Mantises Don’t Crash

Why mantises don’t crash explained in reports in Science Shots and Science Daily 5 March 2014, and Current Biology doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.01.054. Juvenile Praying Mantises do not have wings, so they can’t fly, but they can jump to reach targets like overhanging branches. However, small creatures such as insects can easily spin out of control when […]

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