Saturday, October 4, 2008

Physics of Bugs


Stop-action dragonfly flight. The photographs on top show pairs of mirror-view images of a tethered dragonfly (Libellula pulchella) during one period of hovering motion. The colorful bottom images display calculated air flows at four representative times in the dragonfly's wing-stroke cycle. In these simulations the dragonfly's body is horizontal and its head is to the right. White lines indicate cross sections of the fore and hind wings, which are separated by about 1 cm. Red areas indicate counterclockwise swirling, blue represents clockwise motion.


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