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Mardi, 06 Septembre 2011 12:00

Wing Secrets That Help Insects Rule the World

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Early Flight

The quest of insects to achieve total world domination is wing-powered.

Insects, the only invertebrates that have learned how to fly, use their wings as key assets in their global colonization. Their wings can be protective shells, musical instruments (grasshoppers), camouflage, signals to recognize each other, a means of attracting mates or warning predators, even tools to fly.

Insects are our greatest competitor for food. They also keep the earth clean and productive. These ecosystem workhorses could easily manage without us, but we could never manage without them.

In celebration of these chitin-made wonders, we’ve collected images to take you on a tour of the insect wing world.


Dragonfly wings, like those seen above, are stiff and heavily veined, representing an early kind of wing, entomologists believe. Wings probably began as protrusions of the insect body: lobes that gave extra gliding stability. The insect's circulatory system nourished these protruding lobes, and became the veins we now see in insect wings.

Despite being relatively primitive, dragonflies are the fastest flying insects and have been clocked as fast as 35 miles per hour.

Image: Jon Garvin/Flickr.

Wing Secrets That Help Insects Rule the WorldDanielle Venton is a science writer who fosters a special love for bugs, plants, mountains, books and gorgeous space photos. She likes writing with a fountain pen and hopes to walk across the Himalayas one day.
Follow @DanielleVenton on Twitter.


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