Scientists Have Finally Figured Out How Butterflies Fly And It’s So Cool

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I have to admit, I’ve never much thought about how butterflies float through the air before, but this is so cool!

Scientists have finally figured out how butterflies fly, and it’s pretty genius.

It literally seems like these lighter-than-air beauties are floating on wisps of air, and they kind of are.

Biologists from Sweden’s Lund University set out to test a 50-year-old theory, that butterflies “clap” their wings together, pushing out the trapped air to create a jet and push the animal in the opposite direction.

CNN World

Butterflies look different from many other flying animals, compared to birds and bats. They have a very extreme wing shape — very large, short but very broad wings compared to their little body. That is a bit of a puzzle, because that sort of wing is quite inefficient.

Henningsson, Associate Professor of Biology, Lund University

According to CNN World, a group of biologists studied free-flying butterflies, and found that their “wings were behaving in an unusual way — instead of slamming together, as two flat surfaces, the wings bent to create a “pocket shape,” which would capture more air, and improve propulsion.”

This “pocket” of trapped air that the butterfly creates by “clapping” its wings is what allows it to float and fly through the air.

Another cool thing about their wings, instead of being tough, and rigid, butterflies have flexible wings that allow them to take off quickly. This is probably an evolutionary adaptation that allows them to quickly escape predators.

If you have kids and LOVE butterflies like I do, you should check out these 20 Butterfly Learing Activities. They are so fun!

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