Investigation of hindwing folding in ladybird beetles by artificial elytron transplantation and microcomputed tomography

Kazuya Saito, Shuhei Nomura, Shuhei Yamamoto, Ryuma Niyama, Yoji Okabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ladybird beetles are high-mobility insects and explore broad areas by switching between walking and flying. Their excellent wing transformation systems enabling this lifestyle are expected to provide large potential for engineering applications. However, the mechanism behind the folding of their hindwings remains unclear. The reason is that ladybird beetles close the elytra ahead of wing folding, preventing the observation of detailed processes occurring under the elytra. In the present study, artificial transparent elytra were transplanted on living ladybird beetles, thereby enabling us to observe the detailed wing-folding processes. The result revealed that in addition to the abdominal movements mentioned in previous studies, the edge and ventral surface of the elytra, as well as characteristic shaped veins, play important roles inwing folding. The structures of the wing frames enabling this folding process and detailed 3D shape of the hindwing were investigated using microcomputed tomography. The results showed that the tape spring-like elastic frame plays an important role in the wing transformation mechanism. Compared with other beetles, hindwings in ladybird beetles are characterized by two seemingly incompatible properties: (i) the wing rigidity with relatively thick veins and (ii) the compactness in stored shapes with complex crease patterns. The detailed wing-folding process revealed in this study is expected to facilitate understanding of the naturally optimized system in this excellent deployable structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5624-5628
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume114
Issue number22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 30 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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