Surface-skimming stoneflies: A possible intermediate stage in insect flight evolution

James Harold Marden, Melissa G. Kramer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

64 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Insect wings appear to have evolved from gills used by aquatic forms for ventilation and swimming, yet the nature of intermediate stages remains a mystery. Here a form of nonflying aerodynamic locomotion used by aquatic insects is described, called surface skimming, in which thrust is provided by wing flapping while continuous contact with the water removes the need for total aerodynamic weight support. Stoneflies surface skim with wing areas and muscle power output severely reduced, which indicates that surface skimming could have been an effective form of locomotion for ancestral aquatic insects with small protowings and low muscle power output.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-430
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume266
Issue number5184
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994

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Insects
Locomotion
Muscles
Ventilation
Weights and Measures
Water

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

Cite this

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Surface-skimming stoneflies : A possible intermediate stage in insect flight evolution. / Marden, James Harold; Kramer, Melissa G.

In: Science, Vol. 266, No. 5184, 01.01.1994, p. 427-430.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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