Meeting Abstract

69.2  Jan. 7  High speed video analysis of flight maneuvers in Dipterans BREWER, M.L.*; ROBERTS, S.P.; University of Nevada, Las Vegas; University of Nevada, Las Vegas brewerm5@unlv.nevada.edu

The kinematics, biomechanics, and energetic costs of insect hovering flight are relatively well-understood, yet detailed observations of maneuvering flight, much less descriptions of its associated aerodynamic and metabolic correlates, lag far behind. In this study we address these issues by using three orthogonally placed high-speed (5500 frames per second) digital video cameras to record flight behavior in Drosophila melanogaster and several species of hoverflies (Syrphidae), which are among the most acrobatic and maneuverable of all biological flyers. Following take-off, Drosophila perform stereotypical maneuvers (generally planar arcs and hairpins) when they encounter overhead obstacles. The induction of such flight behavior will allow us to test the effect of evolutionary and developmental variation in wing size and shape on take-off flight performance and maneuverability, specifically the duration and turn radii of these maneuvers. The recordings of syrphids show that some species hover with a near horizontal longitudinal body axis and as well as a near horizontal stroke plane, and are capable of an array of maneuvers including rolling descent, yaw rotation, rapid ascension and backwards flight. During certain maneuvers, some syrphids articulate the head in a manner to keep it (and presumably their plane of vision) horizontally aligned. Such recordings will be necessary to elucidate the aerodynamic mechanisms of complex flight behavior occurring on small temporal and spatial scales.