Michael Dickinson reports on “a marvelous machine”: ——————-
” . . .Dickinson used superslow-motion video cameras to study how a fly avoids getting swatted.. . .Dickinson says a fly will typically jump off the surface and then begin to fly away from the swatter. But the high-speed cameras revealed something amazing about what happened before the fly jumped.
“They perform an elegant little ballet with their legs,” says Dickinson. “They move their legs around to reposition their bodies so that when they do jump, they will push themselves away from the looming threat.”
That ballet appears to give them a critical edge in escaping the swatter.
Dickinson says what’s remarkable about this body position is how fast it happens. In less than a 10th of a second, the fly has to perceive the threat using its eyes, determine what direction it’s coming from, and then make the appropriate movement with its legs so it jumps in the right direction. And all this is accomplished by a brain that’s the size of a poppy seed. . . .
. . .in my lab you really see a marvelous machine, arguably the most sophisticated flying device on the planet. . . .”
See:Michael Dickinson, Current Biology, Aug. 28, 2008
See fly flight videos: