Orchid Bees In Flight

These videos supplement the full article "Taming Turbulence," November-December 2009. 

Amid turbulent conditions, orchid bees in flight prevent themselves from rolling by extending their rear legs. 

Moving the mass in its legs aways from its body increases the orchid bee's resistance to rotation, in the same way figure skaters slow a fast spin by extending their arms and legs.


As windspeed and turbulence increase, an orchid bee homing in on a desirable scent is ejected from the airstream.

An orchid bee's use of its rear legs to maintain stability in turbulent conditions is especially clear in this slow-motion video.


All videos courtesy of Stacey Combes/The Combes Laboratory

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