22 October 2012
In a new study, originating from Rhea von Busse's PhD thesis, the kinematics and wing shape changes are analyzed in great detail in flying bats, Leptonycteris yerbabuenae. The movements of a great number of morphological landmarks on the wings were analyzed and interpreted with respect to aerodynamic output by the wings. For example, the wing area, angle of attack and camber of the wing all decrease as flight speed increases. This is reflecting the declining demands on the wings as force generating devices. It appears that kinematics change in ways to preserve a favorable flow regime around the wings. However, it remains to investigate how the bats gauge the flow above the wings and use that information to control the motor output, something that we hope to address in future experiments. The paper is published in the open access journal Biology Open.