Super slow-motion can show us a lot of things that we’ve never seen before. Dr. Adrian Smith of Ant Lab wanted to show us how some unusual insects take flight, so he filmed them at 3,200 fps. It’s amazing to reveal what techniques they use to take off, but it’s also interesting to see how much they differ.
Dr. Smith already showed us some fascinating shots of little creatures around us: he managed to capture what it looks like when an ant injects its venom into its prey. This time, he wanted to show us something else, but equally interesting.
There was no scientific background to this footage. Dr. Smith says that he did it just for fun, but also to film the insects in a way that no one else has. He used a black light as a lot of insects active at night would be attracted to it. Thanks to this, he was able to collect the insects from over seven different orders. He set up his filming set in his laundry room, and each of the clips he shows in the video was filmed there at 3,200 fps.
What’s also interesting about this video is that it doesn’t contain “usual” insects. In other words, Dr. Smith avoided filming any of the insects whose flights you’ve seen on camera before. Instead, he only went after “the weird stuff,” and here’s the list of the insects that he filmed:
- 01:17 – plume moth
- 01:20 – firefly
- 02:32 – painted lichen moth
- 03:14 – leafroller moth
- 03:31 – rosy maple moth
- 04:00 – stonefly
- 05:14 – mayflies
- 06:07 – fishfly
- 07:00 – aphid
- 07:42 – scorpionfly
- 08:10 – lacewing
One of my absolute favorites is a rosy maple moth. Look at this fluffy little thing! Dr. Smith calls it “a flying muppet.”
Another one I really like is an aphid. When it lifts off, there’s no little jump like with the most of other insects. It just takes off the ground, kinda like a little helicopter. Also, its body rotates a bit with every flap of the wings, and it’s quirky and adorable.
Make sure to check out the entire video, because both the footage and Dr. Smith’s narration make it super-fun to watch. And if you want to see more, there are a few more clips on Dr. Smith’s Instagram.
[Insect Flight | Capturing Takeoff & Flying at 3,200 FPS via Colossal]
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