The Biomechanics of Insect Flight: Form, Function, Evolution

The Biomechanics of Insect Flight: Form, Function, Evolution

by Robert Dudley

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Overview

From the rain forests of Borneo to the tenements of Manhattan, winged insects are a conspicuous and abundant feature of life on earth. Here, Robert Dudley presents the first comprehensive explanation of how insects fly. The author relates the biomechanics of flight to insect ecology and evolution in a major new work of synthesis.

The book begins with an overview of insect flight biomechanics. Dudley explains insect morphology, wing motions, aerodynamics, flight energetics, and flight metabolism within a modern phylogenetic setting. Drawing on biomechanical principles, he describes and evaluates flight behavior and the limits to flight performance. The author then takes the next step by developing evolutionary explanations of insect flight. He analyzes the origins of flight in insects, the roles of natural and sexual selection in determining how insects fly, and the relationship between flight and insect size, pollination, predation, dispersal, and migration. Dudley ranges widely—from basic aerodynamics to muscle physiology and swarming behavior—but his focus is the explanation of functional design from evolutionary and ecological perspectives.

The importance of flight in the lives of insects has long been recognized but never systematically evaluated. This book addresses that shortcoming. Robert Dudley provides an introduction to insect flight that will be welcomed by students and researchers in biomechanics, entomology, evolution, ecology, and behavior.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691094915
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 09/29/2002
Series: Form, Function, Evolution
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 496
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Robert Dudley is Professor of Biomechanics and Comparative Physiology at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of numerous articles on the biomechanics of insect flight. He is also a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in the Republic of Panama.

Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ix

SYMBOLS xi

CHAPTER ONE Flight and the Pterygote Insecta 3

1.1 Insect Diversity 5

1.2 Basic Aerodynamics 15

1.3 Why Study Flight Biomechanics? 29

1.4 Summary 34

CHAPTER TWO Morphology of the Flight Apparatus 36

2.1 Thoracic Design 36

2.2 Wings 52

2.3 Ancillary Structures 72

2.4 Summary 74

CHAPTER THREE Kinematics and Aerodynamics of Flight 75

3.1 Wing and Body Motions 75

3.2 Aerodynamics 105

3.3 Mechanical Power Requirements 144

3.4 Summary 157

CHAPTER FOUR Energetics and Flight Physiology 159

4.1 Oxygen Consumption 159

4.2 Muscle Physiology 172

4.3 Thermoregulation in Flight 196

4.4 Summary 157

CHAPTER FIVE Stability, Maneuverability, and Maximum Flight Performance 203

5.1 Stability 203

5.2 Maneuverability 222

5.3 Three-Dimensional Flight Behavior 233

5.4 Limits to Insect Flight Performance 242

5.5 Summary 259

CHAPTER SIX Evolution of Flight and Flightlessness 261

6.1 Origin of Flight in Hexapods 261

6.2 Evolutionary Consequences of Flight and Flightlessness 291

6.3 Summary 300

CHAPTER SEVEN Flight and Insect Diversification 302

7.1 Miniaturization 302

7.2 Pollination 309

7.3 Predation 313

7.4 Long-Range Dispersal and Migration 322

7.5 Comparison of Insect and Vertebrate Flight 331

7.6 Summary 336

CHAPTER EIGHT Future Directions in Insect Flight Biomechanics 338

8.1 Aerodynamic Mechanisms 338

8.2 Insect Flight Biomechanics in Nature 341

8.3 Exploring Insect Diversity 347

GLOSSARY 353

REFERENCES 361

INDEX 465

What People are Saying About This

Robin Wootton

This is an excellent book, without any serious competitors.... Particularly impressive is the range of Robert Dudley's knowledge and understanding of the many aspects and of the literature of this fascinating, complex subject. He covers physiology, functional morphology, paleontology, aerodynamics, behaviour and ecology with almost equal confidence and authority ... and the book excels as a synthesis of all these fields, and as a unique source of information on the subject as a whole.
Robin Wootton, University of Exeter

Mark Denny

Robert Dudley provides a thorough review and synthesis of the literature on insect flight. The book is timely in several respects.... It will serve as an excellent example of how the fields of biomechanics and evolution can be productively and rigorously combined.
Mark Denny, Stanford University, author of "Air and Water: The Biology and Physics of Life's Media" and "Biology and the Mechanics of the Wave-Swept Environment".

Steven Vogel

This work is a remarkable accomplishment, something never before even attempted. . . . Especially noteworthy are the remarkable way it combines biomechanical with ecological and evolutionary thinking and the extent to which it brings in non-English literature. . . . It will have a long and useful life.
Steven Vogel, Duke University, author of "Life in Moving Fluids: The Physical Biology of Flow" and "Life's Devices: The Physical World of Animals and Plants"

From the Publisher

"This work is a remarkable accomplishment, something never before even attempted. . . . Especially noteworthy are the remarkable way it combines biomechanical with ecological and evolutionary thinking and the extent to which it brings in non-English literature. . . . It will have a long and useful life."—Steven Vogel, Duke University, author of Life in Moving Fluids: The Physical Biology of Flow and Life's Devices: The Physical World of Animals and Plants

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