Killers flew ‘deep bombs’ towards their victims. But often lose control in the air and miss their target. A new study shows
A team of researchers led by the University of Cambridge filmed the species with a camera while trying to capture prey in clear tanks in a lab.
The Coenosia attenuata species can accelerate to over 3g when air diving to capture prey.
But at such a high speed They tend to miss because they can’t fix the route. and ended with a slow recalibration mid-air.
incredible This species is native to southern Europe. It travels five times faster than a hawk, even at 0.1inches long.
The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Cambridge. Lincoln University and the University of Minnesota.
‘Airborne insects often intersect their prey with the sky and attack upwards,’ they said in their paper.
‘however Killer flies (Coenosia attenuata) can attack prey flying beneath them. by doing what we call “Air diving”
‘Killer flies are highly agile and agile predators. which hunt down prey and fly upwards.’
Front and side images of the killer fly (Coenosia attenuata). Killer flies are fast and predatory. ‘Highly maneuverable’, which hunt down and fly prey.
High-speed air diving is achieved through a combination of gravity and flap, or ‘active muscle acceleration’.
This is more like riding a bike downhill than with the help of gravity. This is a situation that can result in loss of control as well.
It gives the species an impressive acceleration of 36 m/s2, equivalent to 3.6x acceleration due to gravity (or 3.6 g).
The killer or predator fly (Coenosia attenuata) is a species of flies native to southern Europe.
Found in Spain, France, Italy, Germany and Greece.
They feed on fruit flies, white flies and other small insects.
Killer flies are fast and predatory. ‘Highly maneuverable’ that hunts up and down prey.
Researchers say it is the only insect that attacks the bottom.
It uses a combination of gravity and ‘Active Muscle Acceleration’ – flapping – for explosive leaping speed.
This is more like riding a bike downhill than just relying on gravity.
Surprisingly, the diving falcon, the fastest animal that catches prey in the air. It has a much lower acceleration, only 6.8m/s2.
The Falcon dives, spreading its wings and allowing gravity to accelerate towards its prey.
But the killer flies didn’t take into account the effects of gravity when diving to intercept a target. the researchers said
to get results An international team has built a transparent ‘flight platform’ and flies simulated prey through it at constant speed. Like real fruit flies (bait of killer flies)
Killer flies were filmed with high-speed video cameras as they attacked their targets. And the researchers watched the video backwards in slow motion.
The research team used this information to reconstruct an entirely new attack sequence in 3D.
They found that the flies flew much faster when they took off from the ceiling of the stadium. compared to the floor or wall
The flies hit their wings at a similar rate. no matter where they flew from This indicates that their flight speed is determined by a combination of wing forces and gravity.
Researcher Sergio Rossoni, a PhD student at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Zoology, said: “When a killer fly flies off the floor or wall of the arena They will move when they can take the shortest path to the target.
‘But they couldn’t handle that when they got off the ceiling because the high acceleration caused by gravity changed the expected flight path.’
The killer flew with the victim. Killer flies can reach speeds of up to 3.6 grams when diving in mid-air to capture prey.
by diving with a very high acceleration Sometimes the killer quickly catches the victim. But they tend to miss because their speed makes it difficult to change course during a dive if the prey moves.
But even if the flies did not reach the target Species are also able to keep an eye on their prey at close range. while doing the final maneuver to capture it.
High-speed diving also forces potential prey to change direction as the attacker approaches. But to do this, the victim had to slow down. make it easier to catch
Rossoni said his team was interested in killer flies. Also known as the Flies Hunter. Because it was the only insect that attacked below.
The still from the video above shows the killer fly bigger than it missed. and later zoomed through Rossoni said: ‘You can see the fruit flies change a lot in their attempts to escape the killer flies, however this will slow the fruit flies. which made the killer fly closer and closer until caught.’
Airborne insects tend to attack their prey upwards. Due to the difference between the victim and the sky, it is easier to see.
“The insects usually attack upstairs because they can shade their prey against a brighter, less cluttered sky,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today program on Friday morning.
‘But killer flies are specific because they attack in all directions.’
Killer flies are therefore unusual predators. Due to the chase into the visible overgrown floor by using eyes that are only coarse therefore more difficult
The research team said “The difficulty of hunting prey in the wasteland is exacerbated by the coarse resolution of killer flies. This is even worse compared to other predators,” the research team said.
‘Under such conditions It might be helpful to dash towards prey at high speed. even if the mobility is reduced
‘By reducing the distance to the target The killer fly also increased the angular size of the target on the retina. This will make it less likely to lose track.’
The findings are published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.
fruit fly ‘Extreme Ultra Marathon Flyer’, Study Reveals
Although fruit flies are known for flying in circles in search of bananas But scientists found that fruit flies had a very impressive range.
Researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have reported that the species Drosophila melanogaster can fly up to 9 miles (15 km) in one voyage.
impressive is The average body length is about 6 million times, which is 2.5 mm, or one tenth of an inch.
This would be like a normal human being traveling only 6,200 miles (10,000 kilometers) in a single voyage—the approximate distance from the North Pole to the equator.
Michael Dickinson, a biologist at Caltech, said: “The dispersing ability of these small fruit flies is greatly underestimated.
for this experiment The team has set up 10 ‘Smell Traps’ in a circular ring. each located within a one kilometer (0.6 mile) radius around the launch site.
Each trap contains a tantalizing cocktail of fermented apple juice and champagne yeast. which is a mixture that produces carbon dioxide and ethanol. which fruit flies cannot resist
Read more: Hungry fruit flies can fly up to 9 miles in one voyage to find food