A team of scientists from Skoltech, Tokyo Institute of Technology, the University of Rostock, the Joint Russian-Vietnamese Center for Tropical Research and Technology and Chiba University led by experts from the Department of Entomology, Faculty of Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University became authors of a published article “Novel flight style and light wings boost flight performance of tiny beetles” in the world’s leading multidisciplinary science journal Nature. Dmitry Kolomenskiy, the CDMM Assistant Professor, is among the authors of the article.
Dear Professor Kolomenskiy, please accept our sincere congratulations!
Farisenkov, S.E., Kolomenskiy, D., Petrov, P.N. et al. Novel flight style and light wings boost flight performance of tiny beetles. Nature (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-04303-7
Flight speed is positively correlated with body size in animals1. However, miniature
featherwing beetles can fly at speeds and accelerations of insects three times their
size2. Here we show that this performance results from a reduced wing mass and a
previously unknown type of wing-motion cycle. Our experiment combines
three-dimensional reconstructions of morphology and kinematics in one of the
smallest insects, the beetle Paratuposa placentis (body length 395 μm). The flapping
bristled wings follow a pronounced figure-of-eight loop that consists of
subperpendicular up and down strokes followed by claps at stroke reversals above
and below the body. The elytra act as inertial brakes that prevent excessive body
oscillation. Computational analyses suggest functional decomposition of the
wingbeat cycle into two power half strokes, which produce a large upward force, and
two down-dragging recovery half strokes. In contrast to heavier membranous wings,
the motion of bristled wings of the same size requires little inertial power. Muscle
mechanical power requirements thus remain positive throughout the wingbeat cycle,
making elastic energy storage obsolete. These adaptations help to explain how
extremely small insects have preserved good aerial performance during
miniaturization, one of the factors of their evolutionary success.