Ladybugs fold their wings like origami masters | Science News

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Ladybugs fold their wings like origami masters

Slow-motion video reveals the complex movements

By
11:30am, June 13, 2017
ladybug with clear wing case

WINGING IT  Ladybugs fold up their wings when they land. To view that process, scientists replaced part of a ladybug’s red-and-black wing case with a transparent resin.

View the video

Those who struggle to fit a vacation wardrobe into a carry-on might learn from ladybugs. The flying beetles neatly fold up their wings when they land, stashing the delicate appendages underneath their protective red and black forewings.

To learn how one species of ladybug (Coccinella septempunctata) achieves such efficient packing, scientists needed to see under the bug’s spotted exterior. So a team from Japan replaced part of a ladybug’s forewing with a transparent bit of resin, to get a first-of-its-kind glimpse of the folding.

Slow-motion video of the altered ladybug showed that the insect makes a complex, origami-like series of folds to stash its wings, the scientists report in the May 30 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. CT scans helped explain how the wings can be both strong

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