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Fruit Flies Move Like Fighter Jets To Avoid Getting Swatted

Update Date: Apr 11, 2014 10:01 AM EDT
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Fruit fly and an F-22 Raptor fighter jet has more things in common than you might think. Scientists using video cameras tracked down a fly's areal maneuvers and found that the insect employed astonishingly quick banked turns to evade predators and those moves pretty much resembled the ones executed by a fighter jet.

Technically, researchers noted that fruit flies were able to change course in less than a hundredth of a second.

For the experiment, researchers synchronized three high-speed cameras operating at 7,500 frames a second. With the help of those cameras, they then tracked the wind and the body motion of the fruit fly species Drosophila hydei.

Researchers observed that flies produced impressive escape responses, almost instantaneously rolling bodies like a military jet in a banked turn to steer away. Flies also showed that they could roll on their sides by upwards of 90 degrees while executing the turn, sometimes flying almost upside down, reported NBC News.

"They generate a rather precise banked turn, just like an aircraft pilot would, to roll the body and generate a force to take them away from the threat," said University of Washington biologist Michael Dickinson, who led the study in the press release.

"I suspect that these are very ancient reflexes," Dickinson added. "Very shortly after insects evolved flight, other insects evolved flight to eat them. Circuits for detecting predators are very, very ancient. But this one is just being implemented in a high-performance flight machine."

The study has been published in the journal Science.

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