For all flyers, aeroplanes or animals, making banked turns involve a rolling motion which, due to higher induced drag on the outer than the inner wing, results in a yawing torque opposite to the turn. This adverse yaw torque can be counteracted using a tail, but how animals that lack tail, e.g. all insects, handle this problem is not fully understood. Here, we quantify the performance of turning take-off flights in butterflies and find that they use force vectoring during banked turns without fully compensating for adverse yaw. This lowers their turning performance, increasing turn radius, since thrust becomes misaligned with the flight path. The separation of function between downstroke (lift production) and upstroke (thrust production) in our butterflies, in combination with a more pronounced adverse yaw during the upstroke increases the misalignment of the thrust. This may be a cost the butterflies pay for the efficient thrust-generating upstroke clap, but also other insects fail to rectify adverse yaw during escape manoeuvres, suggesting a general feature in functionally two-winged insect flight. When lacking tail and left with costly approaches to counteract adverse yaw, costs of flying with adverse yaw may be outweighed by the benefits of maintaining thrust and flight speed.
|Number of pages||1|
|Journal||Journal of the Royal Society, Interface|
|Publication status||Published - 2021 Dec 1|
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Evolutionary Biology