How Do Flies Take Off Backwards?

How Do Flies Take Off Backwards?

Whether you’ve ever wondered how it is that birds and other flying creatures are able to take off backwards, the answer is yes. During their flight, these creatures will perform various maneuvers in order to maximize their performance. To begin with, a fly will move its legs backward and forward when faced with a threat from above, side, or below. Moreover, this behavior is triggered by an odor or other internal cue.

The brain of the fly calculates the location of the threat and positions the body and legs in the best possible position. Consequently, the fly is able to react in a millisecond. It is a fascinating study that sheds light on how the insect nervous system works.

While many birds cannot fly backwards, a few species are able to do so. For instance, hummingbirds have wings that are specifically designed for flying backwards. They can also fly upside down. While Hummingbirds are the only known birds that fly backwards, there are several other species that are flightless.

Researchers conducted the experiment by making tiny cuts in the thoraxes of flies, observing the effects of various cuts. They also cut away a part of the thorax called the sub-epimeral ridge. The sub-epimeral ridge is a bump on the lower side of the thorax. Cutting off this part of the fly’s thorax caused the transmission to fall apart. Using a high-speed camera at 3,000 frames per second, the images show the intricate coordination of the wings.