With the help of high-speed cameras, CT scanners and some nail-art supplies, scientists in Japan have managed to catch a glimpse of the elaborate way that ladybugs fold their wings to tuck them away.
The research could have implications for everything from aeronautics to umbrellas.
The study, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, explored how ladybugs can have wings strong enough to fly with, but quickly collapsible so they can be tucked out of the way.
The wings, after all, are much larger than the black-spotted wing cases they fold down to fit inside — as is immediately obvious easy to see if you just watch a video of the wings unfolding.
But the researchers at the University of Tokyo explain that no one knew how the ladybugs put the wings away, since they actually shut the wing cases first — then pull the wings inside. The interesting action is tucked out of sight.
Photo: University of Tokyo