Bugs in Flight

Andrew Cockburn afc at gnv.ifas.ufl.edu
Wed Apr 20 10:11:49 EST 1994


In article <1994Apr19.163309.21389 at cabell.vcu.edu>, psy3cho at cabell.vcu.edu (Christopher H. O'Kennon) writes:
> Does anyone have any current information on the ability of
> bumblebees to fly despite their size and shape?  Or is this an old
> fable?
> 
> 
> If I'm posting this in the wrong newsgroup, I apologize.

Any insect physiology text should cover this old chestnut.

The problem is that if bees flapped their wings as fast as their muscles
can contract, they could not generate enough lift to fly.

The solution is that bees (and other insects) flap their wings much faster
than their muscles contract.  The muscle contractions set up a high frequency
resonation in the thorax, which is what actually makes the wings move.

Andrew Cockburn



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