Dragonfly Wing: The Structure And Mechanical Properties Explained | Kidadl


Dragonfly Wing: The Structure And Mechanical Properties Explained

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Dragonflies refer to a large group of iridescent, four-winged flying insects belonging to the order Odonata.

They are among the most diverse and beautiful insects, and their gentle, graceful movements and beautifully patterned wings have a calming effect on many. Dragonflies can be found in a diverse range of habitats, including deserts, rainforests, wetlands, ponds, and streams.

Dragonflies are interesting creatures because of the unique way in which their wings work. The aerodynamic structure of their wings helps them to fly in many different ways and using them as a model of study has enabled many researchers and engineers to design new functions for drones and aircraft! We have many more amazing facts about dragonflies and their spectacular wings for you.

What gives dragonfly wings their patterns?

Dragonfly wings are translucent and covered in mesmerizing webbed patterns. Their wings appear to be divided into thousands of tiny shapes due to these patterns.

The wings of insects contain veins within the thin membrane, which help transport blood to them and help keep them functional. They also help nerves to make their way across the wings. Every insect has a different wing structure and pattern. Rudimentary insects, like fruit flies, only have a couple of veins weaving through their wings. However, dragonflies have a number of small, fine veins snaking across their wings, which help to improve their sensitivity and performance.

This amazing network of veins is what actually helps create the beautiful segmented criss-cross pattern on a dragonfly's wings. The venation differs on each dragonfly, providing endless patterns on each insect wing!

Many dragonflies also have spotted patterns or similar shapes on their wings against the translucent backdrops. This pigmentation has a purpose. It helps to keep dragonflies warmer in colder regions. However, due to global warming, which has led to rising temperatures in many areas, it is thought that these dragonflies may soon lose their spots!

You can touch a dragonfly's wings but gently in order to not damage them. Though they may look fragile, they are quite tough and resilient, but they still should be handled with care.

What is the frequency of the dragonfly wing beat?

It is quite difficult to see a dragonfly's wings moving, as this insect seems to simply hover in the sky. This is because of the sheer speed at which this creature's wings move!

A dragonfly's wings can beat up to 30 times per second - that's a whopping 1800 times per minute! No wonder you cannot see its wings move. The movement is simply too fast for the human eye to capture.

Different dragonfly species have different wing patterns and coloring, however, every dragonfly wing, regardless of species, boasts unique patterns!

Mechanical Properties Of Dragonfly Wings

Dragonfly wings are quite a marvel of science, and their wings are being studied for scientific and technological reasons.

Their wings have the natural ability to help them to float, glide, and hover effortlessly. The wings have a lot of stability and have a very high load-bearing capacity, the amount of load an insect can handle before it bends or breaks.

A dragonfly's wings are made of a series of veins and lightweight membranes, which help make this insect more aerodynamic. The wings are corrugated, which allows this insect to absorb stress while in flight as well as keeps it stiff, preventing it from bending too much while in flight. The various ways in which this insect can twist its wings allow it to hover, slow its flight, and speed up at will. A dragonfly can use both sets of its wings together, or one at a time to change direction as well as provide thrust to move faster.

These insects are also able to free-glide through the air due to the unique shape of their wings, in between high-powered bursts of flight, to allow their wings a little rest. The shape of the wings helps to support their body weight. Researchers are conducting extensive studies on the aerodynamic nature of these wings and using them to create similar-shaped blades for drones and helicopters. A dragonfly is able to seemingly twist its wings at any angle, allowing for a greater range of movement than other insect species. Studying how these insects fly has helped flight-based technology reach heights higher than ever before.

Dragonfly Wings Facts

The body of a dragonfly insect is divided into three distinct segments, the head, thorax, and abdomen. A dragonfly's wings sprout from the thorax, which is the middle section of its body.

Like most insects, dragonflies have wings, however, the evolution of dragonflies over time has led them to grow not just one but two pairs of wings. These two pairs working together help them to scale new areas and reach new heights, by increasing the power and acceleration of flapping wings. The lower wings also help to provide support and relief to the upper wings, reducing the amount of energy expended while in flight. The lower wings are broader than the forewings, which allow them to support the upper wings adequately and help them spend less energy.

As dragonflies spend a lot of energy flapping their wings at insanely high speeds, the presence of two pairs of wings helps the distribution of energy between them, helping them to dart around quickly effectively. No two dragonfly wings are the same, even those on the same insect! The veins within a wing form an endless array of patterns, meaning an infinite number of dragonfly wing patterns can be found across species!

Female dragonflies often have a slanted, sharp ovipositor near the tip of their tails, which they use to open steams and leaves of plants. They deposit their eggs inside to keep them safe. They usually seek out plants near the water. Dragonflies have compound eyes similar to flies and bees, made out of more than 30,000 separate optical units! Their eyes provide them with almost 360-degree vision, and they only have a single-blind spot, the area directly behind their heads.

Unfortunately, as a dragonfly only grows wings in the adult stage of its life cycle, once it tears or breaks its wing, it cannot grow it back. Dragonflies do not possess any regenerative properties, so if they sustain any damage to the membrane, they will have to adapt to flying with the tears or may succumb because they cannot fly.

Dragonflies are an essential part of the Earth's ecosystem. They feed on many pesky insect species like mosquitoes and flies, keeping their populations in control. Helping to conserve dragonfly species all over the world is a very important task. They are in danger of losing their precious homes due to pollution and industrialization.

Written By
Tanya Parkhi

<p>Tanya is a skilled content creator with a passion for writing and a love for exploring new cultures. With a degree in Economics from Fergusson College, Pune, India, Tanya worked on her writing skills by contributing to various editorials and publications. She has experience writing blogs, articles, and essays, covering a range of topics. Tanya's writing reflects her interest in travel and exploring local traditions. Her articles showcase her ability to engage readers and keep them interested.</p>

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