Monday, April 5, 2010

If insects that fly only use two wings to fly, why do they have two sets? GUEST BLOG

Todays guest blogger is Mandi.

What advantage does that give them over insects with a single set of wings? Flying insects typically have 4 wings: a set on the mesothorax and a secondary set on the metathorax. While normally, only one set of wings is necessary for flying, the insects use their wings for an array of different uses.

Some secondary sets of wings are used for protection. These types of wings are generally much thicker and denser than the feathery flight wings; beetles, for example, have tough wings for added protection. Other wings are designed to act as an insulator or temperature regulator for the insect. A more common and logical use of the second set of wings however, is an in-flight stabilizer. The wings not flapping in flight can be used by certain insects to prevent uncontrolled spinning, teetering, wobbling, or falling while flying in strong winds or difficult circumstances.

Other winged insects such as grasshoppers or crickets use their legs and hind wings to make their chirping. The coordinated efforts of rubbing the legs and hind wings produce mating calls and facilitate reproduction. Similarly, the appearance of wings can allow easy recognition of species and attraction of potential mates. Hind wings rarely flap to keep insects in flight; insects second set of wings are another example of how structure fits function.


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