Innovators are full of questions.Nature has answers.


  • Strategy

Fly has fast wingbeat: fruit fly


Drosophila melanogaster / Botaurus ste.. / LicenseGFDL - Gnu Free Document License

The indirect flight muscles of the fruit fly allow high wingbeat frequencies via a fast actomyosin reaction.

"The evolution of flight in small insects was accompanied by striking adaptations of the thoracic musculature that enabled very high wing beat frequencies. At the cellular and protein filament level, a stretch activation mechanism evolved that allowed high-oscillatory work to be achieved at very high frequencies as contraction and nerve stimulus became asynchronous. At the molecular level, critical adaptations occurred within the motor protein myosin II, because its elementary interactions with actin set the speed of sarcomere contraction…In conclusion, we have shown that in the fastest known muscle type, insect asynchronous IFM, constraints on strong binding steps of the cross-bridge cycle are unleashed by moving the rate-limiting step of the cycle to be closely associated with phosphate release. The constraints on strong binding are also relaxed by equipping the muscle with a high density of mitochondria that not only supplies the large quantities of MgATP fuel required for energetically costly flight (2, 25) but likely also to maintain an unusually high [MgATP]." (Swank et al. 2007:17543, 17545)
About the inspiring organism
Med_drosophilamelanogasternauenerstadtwald03vii200702 Drosophila melanogaster
Drosophila melanogaster Meigen, 1830
Common name: Fruit fly

Learn more at
Some organism data provided by: BDWD: BioSystematic Database of World Diptera
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Viscoelastic properties of passive structures within fibers, crossbridge-dependent processes, kinetic design in nanomotors, designing stretchy materials, exercise research for athletes, crossbridging materials for flexibility and strength, rapid dissociation and reassociation mechanics.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Engineering, transportation, vehicle design, construction, architecture, medicine, biophysics

Muscle Physiology Research Group
Douglas Swank
Department of Biology and Center for Biotechnology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Cardiovascular Studies
David Maughan
University of Vermont College of Medicine
Swank, Douglas M.; Vishnudas, Vivek K.; Maughan, David W. 2006. An exceptionally fast actomyosin reaction powers insect flight muscle. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 103(46): 17543-17547.
Learn More at Google Scholar Google Scholar  


Login to Post a Comment.

No comments found.