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Insects in Flight: Watch 11 Species Take Off In Super Slow Motion


When insects fly by, they do so usually too fast to really notice how they are doing it. They either zip by our periphery or jump into the air so quickly it’s hard to tell how they do it. In this 6-minute video, you can truly appreciate the funny ways different species take flight.

Dr. Adrian Smith took the time to shoot 11 different species in super slow motion so that the different ways that each insect begins its transition to flight can be closely scrutinized. The video is broken into five sections: weevils, katydids, bark lice, the march fly, and the assassin bug.

What might surprise you is how differently each insect takes off. Weevils and the march fly, in particular, look much more awkward than you might expect. The different katydids use their legs as a major aspect of taking off, and the assassin bug – rather characteristic of its name – flies with its barbed legs splayed forward, as if ready to pounce on airborne prey.

Here are a few still captures from the above video:

This is the second video that Smith has published where he captures insects flying in super slow motion. His first video, below, captures even more insects taking flight:

These videos are shot at a blistering 3200 frames per second, much faster than any still camera currently on the market can fire. Maybe someday the ability to shoot so quickly will come to traditional photo cameras so that the magic of flight can be frozen frame-by-frame, like we see here, in high enough resolution to enjoy as incredible prints.

For more from Dr. Adrian Smith, make sure you subscribe to the Ant Lab YouTube Channel.