Role of venation in the support and deformabilty of Dipteran wings during flight

HANNAFORD, S.J.: Role of venation in the support and deformabilty of Dipteran wings during flight

Wing deformations have been shown in virtually all flying animals thus far studied and are most pronounced during hovering, maneuvering, and slow flight. Despite the universality of deformations during flight, the possible functional significance of such deformations is a matter of dispute. Some investigators regard the wing as essentially rigid, and suggest that effect of wing deformations on flight kinematics is negligible. Others investigators have suggested that some deformations in wing shape during flight may actually be necessary to produce adequate net lift and thrust. To gain a better understanding of the role of wing deformations in insect flight, I measured the net lift, thrust, and wing blade strain in a scaled model of Drosophila wings during flight. Five wing morphologies with different wing venation patterns were considered. Increasing the stability of the wing via the addition of veins decreased the magnitude of the deformations in the wing. The morphological arrangement of the wing veins also affected the spatial and temporal patterns of wing deformations produced during the wing beat cycle. Additional goals included determining whether varying the wing rigidity affected the net thrust and lift produced during flight and determining if the relative forces produced by various Drosophila flight kinematic patterns were affected by varying the wing venation pattern.

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