For decades, scientists have put forward different theories about how butterflies are able to fly, and it is that from a strictly aerodynamic point of view , their wings are anything but efficient. For this reason, the way in which these insects manage to fly has been the object of study of different investigations.
Now, a group of biologists from Lund University in Sweden has validated a theory proposed 50 years ago to explain how butterflies fly. The key, according to experts, is that the wings of these insects form a kind of cavity with each flap that allows them to form a stream of air over which they propel themselves in order to rise.
The secret of flight, explains in a study published in the journal Interface the professor of biology at the University of Lund, Per Henningsson, is that the wings of butterflies are flexible. Without this feature, it would be impossible for butterflies to form the air cavity that catapults them upward.
The experts validated their theory using a robotic model that mimicked the flapping of butterflies. They found that when using flexible wings, flapping efficiency increased by 28 percent compared to rigid wings.
"This flexibility could be one of the reasons why the wings are unusual in shape," Henningsson said.
The particularity in the shape of the wings and flight of the butterflies would have been adapted to the needs of these insects. According to specialists, the reason was none other than to survive and escape other predators.
"Butterflies take off very fast, they do it as a safety measure to reduce the risk of being caught," he added.