[2022-Vol.19-Issue 3]Foldable Units and Wing Expansion of the Oakleaf Butterfly During Eclosion
Post: 2022-04-30 16:33  View:88

Journal of Bionic Engineering (2022) 19:724–736 

Foldable Units and Wing Expansion of the Oakleaf Butterfy During Eclosion 

Jinwen Zhang1,2 · Xiaoming Chen1  · Qin Lu1,2 · Jinguo Liu3  · Xiaofei Ling1  · Weiwei Wang1,2 · Pengfei Liu1  · Hang Chen1 

1 Research Institute of Resource Insects, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Kunming 650224, China
2 Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037, China
3 Robotics Laboratory of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang Institute of Automation (SIA), Liaoning 110169, China

Abstract  Eclosion is a rapid process of morphological changes in insects, especially for the wings of butterfies. The orange oakleaf butterfy (Kallima inachus) transits from pupae to adults with a 9.3 fold instant increase in the surface area of their wings. To explore the mechanism for the rapid morphological changes in butterfy wings, we analyzed changes in microstructures in the wings of K. inachus. We found that there were lots of micron-sized foldable units in the wings at the pupal stage. The foldable units could provide as much as 31.35 times of increase in wing surface area. During eclosion, foldable units were fattened sequentially and resulted in a rapid increase in wing surface areas. The unfolding process was regulated by the structures and layouts of wing veins. Based on our observation, foldable units play important roles in both deformation and stretching of wings. The foldable units of microstructures may provide mimics for simulating entities of large-deformational bionic structures with practical application. 

Keywords  Eclosion · Foldable units · Reserve surface area · Wing spreading power


Upper side (a) and under side (b) views of K. inachus views. The underside view of the wings forming a nearly perfect mimic of a dead oakleaf. The length of the scale was 10 mm

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