JUN 21, 2018 04:03 AM PDT

How does a ladybug fold up all its wings?

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When was the last time you really looked close at a ladybug? Probably when you were a kid, right? Well, it's time to take another look. Scientists have now figured out the complex system of how ladybugs fold in their wings under their elytra, the cases that give them their wings and their famous black and red coloring. Their discoveries may lead to new improvements in human engineering, proving the universal point yet again that we can always learn from nature.

So how did the scientists figure it out? They created artificial, transparent elytra and grafted them onto the bugs, removing their own elytra so. With transparent elytra, the researchers could actually see inside the bug's armor and into the folding process that they use in order to store their wings. The process looks so similar to that of a machine's wings unfolding, it's uncanny - or perhaps it's just us mimicking the experts. Want to see it yourself? Watch the video!

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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