The secret of butterfly flight was finally revealed by scientists in Science & Tech News
Scientists believe they have finally solved the mystery of how butterflies fly, despite their “unusually short, wide, and large wings” compared to their size.
A new study published in the Journal of the Royal Society finds that the key is not in the downstroke when the butterflies’ wings push them forward, but in the upstroke when the wings clap.
“When the wings clap at the end of the upstroke, the air between the wings is pushed out, creating a jet that pushes the animal in the opposite direction,” say the researchers.
The theory of flapping wings to explain butterfly flight was first proposed in the 1970s, but has only just been proven by Swedish scientists at Lund University.
The researchers caught six wild butterflies in the meadows around Stensoffa in southern Sweden and analyzed how these butterflies flew with powerful high-speed video cameras and a wind tunnel.
The researchers also examined the role the creature’s flexible wings played in forming the bowl-shaped shape that enabled this jet to push them forward through the development of mechanical clappers.
One of the two gossip phrases was rigid while the other was flexible, much like the butterfly wings.
They found that the flexible wings significantly increased the force of clapping and improved the efficiency of flapping wings by 28% – a huge improvement for a flying animal.
“Our measurements show that the impulse generated by the flexible blades is 22% higher and the efficiency is 28% better than with rigid blades,” said the author, Dr. Christoffer Johansson.
“The fact that the wings hollow out when butterflies clap them makes flapping their wings much more effective,” said biology researcher Dr. Per Henningsson, who discussed the aerodynamics of butterflies with Dr. Johansson examined.
“It’s an elegant mechanism, far more advanced than we imagined, and it’s fascinating. The butterflies benefit from the technology when they have to take off quickly to escape predators,” added Dr. Henningsson added.