How do flies fly?


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Flies are one of the most common insects to see, but how do are they able to fly so well. We always hear them buzzing and humming around and that is due to their need to flap their small wings fast in order to efficiently move around The fruit fly moves it's wings at 200 hertz which means it's flight muscles contract and relax 200 times per second considering sprinters only move their legs a few times a second. This article explains that flight muscle contractions are triggered by tension in flight muscles, not regulated by nerve impulses like most muscles. "Every fly has two categories of flight muscles which enable the wing oscillations: One type moves the wings down and, at the same time, stretches the other type which induces its contraction. Such, the wings are pulled up again and stable wing oscillations begin."

            But what accounts for these really fast super muscles that allow flies to fly? The answer is gene spalt. "Spalt only exists in flight muscles and is responsible for the specific architecture of their myofibrils. These components of muscle fibers alone enable the contraction of a muscle in response to the applied tension during the oscillations." Without spalt flies only develop normal leg muscles not flying ones. Spalt is also present human cardiac muscle and possibly plays a role in heartbeat regulation.

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Interesting article! I find that this is the beauty of science; that you can find answers to just about everything you have a question for. I thought this was a great research question, I had no clue that flies moved their wings that fast, I always thought that their ability to fly was due to there small body mass. It's pretty cool to speculation what science can do with this information, maybe they could use this knowledge and put it towards a personal "flying machine." The possibilities are endless!

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