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Insects losing the ability to fly allegedly proves Darwin right

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What an empty victory:

Most insects can fly. Yet scores of species have lost that extraordinary ability, particularly on islands.

On the small islands that lie halfway between Antarctica and continents like Australia, almost all the insects have done so.

Flies walk, moths crawl.

“Of course, Charles Darwin knew about this wing loss habit of island insects,” says PhD candidate Rachel Leihy, from the Monash University School of Biological Sciences.

“He and the famous botanist Joseph Hooker had a substantial argument about why this happens. Darwin’s position was deceptively simple. If you fly, you get blown out to sea. Those left on land to produce the next generation are those most reluctant to fly, and eventually evolution does the rest. Voilà.”

Monash University, “Charles Darwin was right about why insects are losing the ability to fly” at ScienceDaily

Paper. (paywall)

Losing an ability is not the question. It is gaining an ability that matters.

But if people need a publication and a bunch of citations, maybe that’s the story they’ll pretend props up Darwinism.

Actually, every new and surprising discovery is hailed as yet another triumph of Darwinism regardless that the result isn't gaining any functionality. Now if all the insects on the island developed super grippers on their feet . . . -Q Querius
Yes, this is a clear example of Darwinism at work, and yes, a very empty "victory" for Darwinists. It is exactly how Michael Behe explains things in Darwin Devolves. Fasteddious
The insect kingdom seems to treat wings as optional equipment, sort of like aftermarket spoilers for cars. The larval stage doesn't fly. In most cases only the swarming stage has wings, and the wings are often disposable and detachable. Swarmers are usually shortlived, basically an egglaying robot produced and turned loose by the larva to spread the eggs. In the plant world, seeds often have wings, and other seeds use fruit to recruit the wings of birds. Larva = tree, swarmer = seed. In other words, wingless is the default. polistra
This type of evolution (use it or lose it) makes for an almost air tight argument against people who deny consciousness AaronS1978
AaronS1978, that's an interesting thought. Blind cave fish can recover their sight when cross bred with other species of blind cave fish so perhaps flight could be recovered if flightless insects from different islands were cross bred. aarceng
Do you ever take the samples off the island and see if they’ll fly again? And if they can’t fly they can’t travel to any of the region of the island so I would assume that they all eventually just die out because it would be really really easy to kill them AaronS1978

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