Journal of Bionic Engineering

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 607–615 | Cite as

The Honeybee’s Protrusible Glossa is a Compliant Mechanism

  • Yunqiang Yang
  • Jianing Wu
  • Rengao Zhu
  • Chuchu Li
  • Shaoze Yan


Many biological structures can perform highly-dexterous actions by using dynamic surfaces. To deal with the contradictive demands of high feeding efficiency and low energy expenditure during nectar feeding, the glossal surface of a honeybee undergoes shape changes, in which glossal hairs erect together with segment elongation in a drinking cycle. In this paper, we extracted a transmission link embedded in the glossa from postmortem examination and found that the compliance of the intersegmental membranes provides more possibilities for this highly kinematic synchronicity. According to the morphing phenomena of honeybee’s glossa, we proposed a compliant mechanism model to predict the deformation behavior of honeybee considering elastic properties of the glossal intersegmental membranes. The increase of membrane stiffness may improve the capacity of elastic potential energy transfer, but will still result in the increase of mass. An index is introduced to evaluate the contradiction for optimizing structural parameters. This work may arouse new prospects for conceptual design of micro-mechanical systems equipped with bio-inspired compliant mechanisms.


honeybee glossal membrane compliant mechanism stiffness evaluation 


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Copyright information

© Jilin University 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Engineering and TechnologyChina University of Geosciences (Beijing)BeijingChina
  2. 2.Division of Intelligent and Biomechanical Systems, State Key Laboratory of Tribology, Department of Mechanical EngineeringTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina

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