Meeting Abstract

64.1  Saturday, Jan. 5  Roll-based sideways motion of mosquitoes in free flight IAMS, SM*; BEATUS, T; GUCKENHEIMER, J; COHEN, I; Bowdoin College & Cornell University; Cornell University; Cornell University; Cornell University

The mosquito body plan and flight characteristics are qualitatively different than those of other well-studied Dipterans. Mosquitoes have a long and slender body, and often fly with a sideways velocity component, so that their body heading does not align with their flight track. They produce substantial sideways accelerations during flight. While flight kinematics and control have been characterized for moths and for many flies, they have not been studied for mosquitoes. Here we report the first quantitative study of mosquito flight kinematics during free flight. We use high speed video and novel image analysis methods to extract the position and orientation of body, wings and legs. We show that mosquitoes generate sideways thrust almost entirely by banking their bodies, and quantify this relationship to show that the sideways deflection of flight forces is driving this sideways acceleration. We find that mosquitoes are almost always generating some sideways thrust due to roll, making roll stability and control critical to their overall flight control. Although yaw control and pitch control have both been carefully explored in many Dipterans, roll control is not commonly explored. However, for mosquitoes, understanding roll generation and roll dynamics is particularly essential to understanding how they move.