Asian ladybird folding and unfolding of hind wing: biomechanical properties of resilin in affecting the tensile strength of the folding area

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The deployable hind wings of Coleoptera are a highly specialized motive system that can fold and unfold in a unique way. Resilin in the wing membrane of Asian ladybird beetle (Harmonia axyridis) hind wings plays an active role during folding and unfolding of the wing. This study investigates the tensile properties of the hind wing and the distribution of resilin through the hind wing in an adult H. axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) and how the resilin in the membrane of the hind wing affects its mechanical characteristics. The cross sections of veins of the hind wing are investigated by inverted fluorescence microscopy. Based on those results, two three-dimensional finite element models of the hind wing with/without resilin are established. The displacements, when subjected to pressure on the ventral side, are analyzed when the membrane wings are filled with/without resilin. The resilin in the hind wing is effectively for changing the flight performance such as the condition of stress and deformation. The results in this paper reveal the multiple functions of the resilin in the hind wings and have important implications for the design of biomimetic deployable micro-air vehicles.

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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Number 31672348), Joint Fund for Pre-research of Equipment and Weapons Industry (Grant Number 6141B012833), China-EU H2020 FabSurfWAR Project (Grant Number 644971), and 111 Project (B16020) of China.

Author information

ZLS and JYS designed the study; ZLS and YWY coordinated the study; ZLS, JT, and JYS conducted the research and analyzed the data; ZLS wrote the manuscript; JYS reviewed the manuscript, discussed the results, and gave the final approval for publication; Mr. Zhiqiang Zhang, ShenYang YuanJie Optics Technology Co., Ltd., offered technology supporting.

Correspondence to Jiyu Sun.

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Song, Z., Yan, Y., Tong, J. et al. Asian ladybird folding and unfolding of hind wing: biomechanical properties of resilin in affecting the tensile strength of the folding area. J Mater Sci 55, 4524–4537 (2020) doi:10.1007/s10853-019-04326-6

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