Float Like a Butterfly


Moth of the Velvetbean Caterpillar
Photo: Lyle J Buss

Several species of flying insects have been studied in the weightless gravity of space. Bees don’t fly at all. House flies can fly but prefer to walk. The strangest reaction comes from moths of the velvetbean caterpillar Anticarsia gemmatalis. Like many other objects in space, these moths float.  They float suspended in space for minutes at a time without beat their wings. Moths spend part of their flight time on earth gliding. Perhaps in the zero gravity of space, they don’t lose altitude so there is no need to beat the wings.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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One Response to Float Like a Butterfly

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