Phenomena

Moths in Flight

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As student engineers, we often use fixed-wing aircraft to build our intuition for flight, but nature has so many other incredible examples to offer. Here we see high-speed video of seven different moth species taking off, and understanding fixed-wing flight won’t help you here at all! These moths have small, rough, and incredibly flexible wings — all characteristics an aircraft designer typically avoids. Yet these insects are agile, fast, and capable fliers at a scale that continues to thwart engineers. Some of the earliest pioneers of flight watched birds for inspiration; for small crafts, there’s no better teacher than insects. (Image and video credit: A. Smith/AntLab)

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