Wings allow escape from spider webs: butterflies
The wings of butterflies and moths help them escape spider webs and other predators because they have scales that easily detach.
|Biomimetic Application Ideas|
> Visit strategy page
Thomas Eisner writes about testing how spider webs hold prey by dropping various insects onto the webs. "Most did not have a chance. It was the moths that seemed most consistently able to escape. They fluttered vigorously the moment we put them into an orb, but as a rule they were detained only momentarily. Some bounced off the web without sticking at all. Others, which did not change direction upon impact, slid momentarily over the web's surface, only to flutter free when they reached the edge. They all left impact marks on the webs where scales became detached to the viscid strands. Moth scars we came to call such telltale sites, and soon learned that they were common." (Eisner 2003:218-220) [In the photographs of p. 219 of this book, he shows wing scales of a moth and empty sockets left after the scales detached.]
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist
Application Ideas: Of particular interest is that these scales stay on through wind and flight, yet release very easily when touched. Micromanufacturing to temporarily attach items until ready for complete assembly. Indicator of damage--loss of color indicates loss of sacrificial layer.
Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Manufacturing