Fruit Flies Move Like Fighter Jets

Speed of evasive turns amazes researchers
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2014 1:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – Swatting a fruit fly is as tricky as trying to catch a tiny fighter jet with an expert pilot at the controls, researchers say. High-speed cameras captured the insects avoiding threats by executing supercharged, banked turns much like fighter planes, reports the Los Angeles Times. The flies beat their wings 200 times per second and were capable of altering course in a single wingbeat, performing complex calculations incredibly quickly for a creature with only a tiny speck of a brain.

The University of Washington team plans further research to determine how the flies are able to perform such amazing feats in the air, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "A fly with a brain the size of a salt grain has the behavioral repertoire nearly as complex as a much larger animal such as a mouse," one of the researchers says. "That’s a super interesting problem from an engineering perspective."

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