Sunday, May 4, 2014

Tricks of the Trissevaniini tribe

An international team of scientists has discovered that several new species of threatened wasps in Sub-Saharan Africa are the first known insects to fold the forewings transversely. For most insects with folding wings, they fold longitudinally, along a line from the wing base to the wing tip. A few insects—mainly some earwigs, cockroaches, and beetles— can fold their hindwings transversely, along a line from the front to the back wing margin. But these members of the newly described Trissevaniini tribe are the first insects known that are able to fold their forewings crosswise. In what is possibly another first, the scientists include in their paper a diagram that can be cut out and folded to demonstrate the capability 3-dimensionally. Coauthor and entomologist István Mikó explains, We used origami, one of the most ancient and simple art forms to understand the wing folding, which, based on our observations through microscopes was otherwise impossible to understand, In our paper, we included a print, cut and fold template for the readers that helps them and us to comprehend the simple, yet enigmatic, wing fold system of the new tribe.

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