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Fruit Fly Fighter Jets: Insect Travels Through Sky Like Aircraft

Apr 11, 2014 03:31 PM EDT | By Justin Stock
fruit flys

The fruit fly insect travels through the sky similar the same way as the United States Air Force's F-22 Raptor fighter jet.

According to a study printed in the journal, Science, scientists from the University of Washington recorded, with a video camera the way the species categorized as Drosophila hydei, made its way through the air, and found it was the same as the fighter jet with rapid shifts in the air to defend themselves from enemies.

Following display of a picture resembling an oncoming animal, scientists ran the cameras simultaneously at a rate of 7,500 shutters each second or 40 clicks for each sound the wings made when moving each second so they find out how the flies can travel so quickly through the sky to escape harms way the Post reported

"They generate a rather precise banked turn, just like an aircraft pilot would, to roll the body and generate a force to take them away from the threat," Michael Dickinson, a biology professor at the University of Washington told the Post.

"That happens very quickly. And it's generated with remarkably subtle changes in wing motion. We were pretty astonished by how little they have to do with their wing motion to generate these very precise maneuvers," Dickinson told the Post.

The flies went up in the air 90 degrees appearing to move turned over on their back.

"I suspect that these are very ancient reflexes," Dickinson told the Post. "Very shortly after insects evolved flight, other insects evolved flight to eat them. Circuits for detecting predators are very, very ancient. But this one is just being implemented in a high-performance flight machine."

"I've always been fascinated by flies. Everybody thinks that they have a simple nervous system, but I think it's exactly the opposite. They just have a really tiny one. But it's incredibly compact. They do so much with just this brain the size of a salt grain," Dickinson told the Post.

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