Scientists have finally worked out how butterflies fly

Scientists have long wondered how butterflies flycompared with other flying animals, the creatures have unusually short, broad and large wings relative to their body size.

现在, experts have found that the insectsclaptheir wings togetherand their wings are perfectly evolved for better propulsion.
Biologists from Sweden’s Lund University set out to test a 50-year-old theory, that butterfliesclaptheir wings together, pushing out the trapped air to create a jet and push the animal in the opposite direction.
Butterflies look different from many other flying animals, compared to birds and bats. They have a very extreme wing shapevery large, short but very broad wings compared to their little body,” Per Henningsson, associate professor in biology at Lund University, 告诉CNN. “That is a bit of a puzzle, because that sort of wing is quite inefficient.
The biologists studied free-flying butterflies, and in their aerodynamic analysis, found the creatureswings form a cupped shape during the upstroke andclap,” thrusting the butterfly forward. 与此同时, the downstroke helps with weight support.
They also noticed that the butterfly wings were behaving in an unusual wayinstead of slamming together, as two flat surfaces, the wings bent to create apocket shape,” which would capture more air, and improve propulsion.
When the wings go up during the upstroke, and they clap together at the end of the upstroke, we saw that they were not just two flat surfaces,” Henningsson explained.
Instead they were bending, and due to their flexibility, (they were) forming a sort of pocket shape,” 他说, adding that the team thought that in doing so, butterflies captured more air between their wings, which improved the clap and boosted performance.
The team tested their theory using a series of triangular robotic clappers, and found that flexible wings increased the efficiency of the clap by 28% compared with rigid wings
Experts think the creatures may have evolved to favor this unusual wing shape in order to evade predators.
This flexibility might be one of the reasons they have this unusual wing shape,” Henningsson said. “Butterflies take off very quicklythey do this as a safety measure, to minimize risk of getting caught,” 他解释.
The research was published Wednesday in the journal Interface.

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