Meeting Abstract

64.6  Saturday, Jan. 5  Aerial behaviors in wingless canopy arthropods YANOVIAK, S. P.*; DUDLEY, R.; University of Louisville; University of California, Berkeley

Gliding flight occurs in a wide range of vertebrate taxa, but was unknown for wingless terrestrial arthropods until it was reported for ants of the tropical rainforest canopy in 2005. Here we show that tropical arboreal bristletails (Archaeognatha) glide to tree trunks in approximately 90% of falls. Experimental manipulation of the caudal filaments reduced gliding success (percent of individuals landing on a tree trunk) and performance (glide index) relative to controls. We quantified similar gliding behavior in selenopid spiders of Peru and Panama. In contrast, baetid mayfly larvae showed no aerodynamic control during voluntary jumps from vertical substrates. The existence of aerial control in the ancestrally wingless bristletails, and its habitat association with an arboreal lifestyle, are consistent with the hypothesis of a terrestrial origin for winged flight in insects.