Flying in the locust
This chapter focuses on flying patterns and its mechanism in locusts, which fly by rhythmically flapping their two pairs of wings. Locusts can develop high air speeds and can cover long distances. The four wings are attached to the thorax by wing hinges that allow the wing to rotate in a large range of angles. A cycle of wing oscillations consists of two parts – an upward movement and a downward movement, which are repeated at a frequency of about 20 Hz. During steady flying, the left and right wings in each pair oscillate synchronously. The hind pair of wings lags behind the front pair with about one-fifth of the cycle duration, however. The locust often starts to fly by jumping into the air. It is suggested that the movement of the animal relative to the air during the jump stimulates the wind receptors, which give rise to a reflex activation of the locomotor system. During flight, the locust maintains a definite body orientation in relation to the horizon and a definite direction of flight. The control system for spatial orientation is driven by visual and wind stimuli.
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