Researchers have managed to disclose the mystery of ladybug hind wings. They used advanced cameras to take a look at how ladybugs fold their wings, and discovered an advanced mechanism which might help engineers create similar designs for various tools and machines.
Ladybugs are quick insects which can shift from walking to flying in seconds. They have always been a fascination for scientists, who have been wondering how they fold their wings. Before their large wings get folded, they are enclosed with the elytra, namely the thick dotted cases. This kept their folding secrets away from the hungry eyes of the scientists.
Researchers sneaked upon the folding wings of ladybugs
However, they managed to find a way to take a peek inside these tiny cases and find out how they can hide such big wings inside them. All the details have been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Initially, they tried to use high-speed cameras to capture each moment of the folding process. However, the dotted cases were too opaque, and they could not see the folds each wing made. Then, they thought to 3D print a case, but neither this one was transparent enough. This is when they came up with an innovative idea. They replaced the opaque wing casing with transparent resin used for nail art.
Applying the folding techniques in advanced designs
Therefore, they saw how ladybugs use certain movements of the abdomen and the edge of the casing to perform a perfect folding of the wings. Also, their wings are incredibly flexible. They are made of elastic but thick veins, which can both support the bugs in flight and fold into a compact form when they are on the ground.
This discovery is massive, as it shows that combining elasticity with strength is achievable. It can help engineers in designing several mechanisms, such as aircraft wings, satellite antennae, or even stronger and more compact umbrellas.
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