Unconventional lift-generating mechanisms in free-flying butterflies.
Flying insects generate forces that are too large to be accounted for by conventional steady-state aerodynamics. To investigate these mechanisms of force generation, we trained red admiral butterflies, Vanessa atalanta, to fly freely to and from artificial flowers in a wind tunnel, and used high-resolution, smoke-wire flow visualizations to obtain qualitative, high-speed digital images of the air flow around their wings. The images show that free-flying butterflies use a variety of unconventi...Expand abstract
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