How can a midge manages to beat its wings 1,000 times a second?
How does a flea leap hundreds of times its own height?
Why does a butterfly fly forwards when its wings beat up and down?
O humanity! A likeness has been made, so listen to it carefully. Those you call upon apart from Allah are not even able to create a single
Despite recent research, despite all the technologies that Allah has placed at the disposal of humanity, a great many characteristics of living things still preserve their miraculous aspects. As in all things that Allah has created in the body of a
Some of the investigations that scientists have carried out on the flight systems of
The flight muscles of many insects such as the locust and dragonfly contract powerfully as a result of stimuli emitted by the nerves that control their every movement. In the locust, for example, signals sent by each nerve cause the flight muscles to contract. By working alternately, not against each another, two complementary groups of muscles, the so-called elevators and depressors, allow the wings to rise up and beat down. Locusts beat their wings 12 to 15 times a second, and in order to be able to
A nerve is able to send at most 200 signals a second. Then how can a small insect able to beat its wings 1,000 times a second? Research has established that in these insects, there is no one-to-one relationship between signals from the nerves and frequency of wing beats.
In these special systems, created independently in the body of every insect, there is not the slightest irregularity. Their nerves never emit an incorrect signal, and the insects’ muscles always interpret them correctly.
In such species as
The wing joint is formed of a special protein known as resilin, which possesses superb elasticity. Since its features are far superior to those of natural or synthetic rubber, chemical engineers are trying to reproduce this substance, in laboratories. In flexing and contracting, resilin is able to store almost all of the energy exerted on it; and when the force pressing on it is lifted, it is able to give back all that energy.
As a result, resilin is up to 96% efficient. During wing lift, some 85% of the energy expended is stored for later; this same energy is then re-used in the downward movement that provides lift and propels the insect forward. Its chest walls and muscles have been created with a special structure to make possible this accumulation of energy. However, the energy is actually stored in the joints consisting of resilin.
It’s of course impossible for an insect, by means of its own efforts, to equip itself with such an extraordinary mechanism for flight. The infinite intelligence and might of Allah has created this special resilin in the insects’ bodies.
For smooth flight, straight up-and-down wing movement alone is not sufficient.. In order to be able to provide lift and propulsive force, the wings must also have to change their angle of motion during every beat. Insects’ wings possess a particular rotational flexibility, depending on the species, which is provided by their so-called direct flight muscles (or DFMs, for short) that produce the forces needed for flight.
When insects seek to climb higher in the air, they increase their wing angle by contracting still further these muscles between the wing joints. Fast-frame and stop-motion photographs have shown that during flight, the wings follow an elliptical course and that for each wing’s cycle, its angle alters systematically. This variation is caused by the changing movements of the direct muscles and the wings’ attachment to the body.
The greatest problem faced by very small insect species during flight is air resistance. For them, sheer air density becomes an obstacle for these creatures that can’t be underestimated. Moreover, a restrictive layer around the wing causes the air to cling
to the wings, leading to a loss in flight efficiency. In order to be able to overcome that air resistance,
Scientists believe that theoretically, even this speed is insufficient to keep these insects aloft, and that they must employ some other additional system. In fact, Anarsia, a kind of parasite, makes use of a method known as “beat and shake.” When its wings reach the highest point in their lift, they strike against each another and then open down again. As the wings, with their string vein, open the front air current first sets up a vortex around the wings and assist with the wing beat lift force.
Many species of insects, the locusts included, take note of visual data such as the line of the horizon to determine their direction of flight and eventual destination. For determining their position,
All the information provided here results from studies into the flight techniques of just three or four insect species. Bear in mind that the total number of insect species on Earth is around 10 million. Considering all these remaining millions of species, along with the countless features they contain, one must increase still further one’s amazement at the infinite might of Allah.
A Solution to Venous Disorders from the Flea Gene
Scientists have succeeded in separating out the resilin gene from fruit
In the course of one study carried out by the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), scientists who succeeded in identifying the gene that produces insects’ resilin also identified a powerful polymer that may prove useful in the treatment of vein diseases. Studies that began in the 1960s, concentrating on the desert locust and dragonfly, were a powerful factor in advancing this most important step.
Resilin, which also gives fleas the ability to make their enormous leaps, gives these and other insects an astonishing capability of movement. Thanks to this substance, fleas are able to jump many hundreds of times their own height and some
The protein obtained from resilin is far better than the highest-quality rubber products in its ability to resist pressure and revert to its former shape. Continuing experiments on artificial resilin show that the protein still maintains these features.
Scientists state their belief that the polymer obtained from cloning insects’ genes can be employed in a variety of very different fields, from medicine to industry. But perhaps the most important of these applications will be treating arterial disease in humans. Because resilin resembles the protein elastin in human veins, scientists hope that their studies will endow veins with renewed elasticity.
The British Professor Roger Greenhalgh states that “This research [into resilin] seems to be at a very early stage, but if we could take something good out of the elasticity of the flea that benefits humans, that would be most impressive.”1