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Thread: Butterfly Flight

  1. #1 Butterfly Flight 
    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Outside observing and wondering about what Iím seeing once again. Butterflies donít flap their wings in the conventional sense by the looks of this.

    https://australianbutterflies.com/ho...2C%20right%3F!

    Erratic flight pattern seems like a strange evolution quirk only because it doesnít seem to fit the mold for winged flight. My questions would be if this is the result of an evolutionary mistake/mutation that for other creatures wouldnít work and if itís so successful for the butterfly then why donít we see more of it?


    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Forum Masters Degree Double Helix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Outside observing and wondering about what I’m seeing once again. Butterflies don’t flap their wings in the conventional sense by the looks of this.

    https://australianbutterflies.com/ho...%2C%20right%3F!

    Erratic flight pattern seems like a strange evolution quirk only because it doesn’t seem to fit the mold for winged flight. My questions would be if this is the result of an evolutionary mistake/mutation that for other creatures wouldn’t work and if it’s so successful for the butterfly then why don’t we see more of it?
    It is likely that a great deal of the erratic flight pattern is for evasion of predators (1). It is also seen in moths, which can detect the echolocation of bats and evade capture by similar behavior (2).

    Some birds, like doves, appear to engage in "deceptive" flight patterns to escape capture. We might see more of it, but sometimes do not appreciate why it happens.


    "Hindwings are unnecessary for flight but essential for execution of normal evasive flight in Lepidoptera"

    1. https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.0807223105


    "Abrupt Flight Patterns Help Evade Predators"

    2. https://asknature.org/strategy/abrup...ade-predators/


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    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    . It is likely that a great deal of the erratic flight pattern is for evasion of predators
    A butterfly’s erratic flight seems to be such an excellent survival trait that perhaps birds have evolved to not even attempt a mid-flight capture since it’s a futile waste of energy. Personally I can’t recall ever seeing a bird having a go at it.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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