Earwig: Wing Unfolding

Images taken in a controlled environment or with a posed subject. All subject types.

Moderators: Pau, rjlittlefield, ChrisR, Chris S.

NikonUser
Posts: 2656
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:03 am
Location: southern New Brunswick, Canada

Earwig: Wing Unfolding

Post by NikonUser »

Best description I could come up with; disclaimer - read at your own risk :roll:
#1: female with forewings (elytra) removed
#2: 1st unfolding; what I'm calling LW (lower part of wing) has been pulled out from beneath the upper part. Very 3-dimensional, looks like an inverted V when vieved from the front with the fold line at top of inversion.
#3: moving the upper part of the wing at right angles to the thorax cause it to partially rotate ventrally, the lower part of the wing now becomes the major part of the dorsal surface. There is another layer of pleated membrane beneath the LW and it unfolds from a ventral hinge H.
The ventral part A rotates outwards at the point where the pin is holding the wing at right angles to the thorax, see #4.
#4: When A rotates outwards the upper part of the wing that had rotated ventrally now rotates back dorsally and the hinge H is now about half way between labels A and C. The pleated wing membrane (B & C in #3) is now greatly expanded.
This image is again 3-dimensional, all the lower part of the membrane below the dotted red line is laying flat and all the part above the red line is almost vertical.
#5: Moving part C (in #3) forward results in the unfolding of more membrane.

D is just for reference

Earwigs must be some sort of contortionists to unfold their wings, and some sort of packing expert to fold them up again.

#5 has been flattened and floated in alcohol onto a microscope slide; accounts for the odd colours
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

NU09185
NU.
student of entomology
Quote – Holmes on ‘Entomology’
” I suppose you are an entomologist ? “
” Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name.
No man can be truly called an entomologist,
sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr
The Poet at the Breakfast Table.

Nikon camera, lenses and objectives
Olympus microscope and objectives

Graham46
Posts: 132
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 7:31 am
Location: Harford County, MD

Post by Graham46 »

Amazing work! Looks like a lot of effort went into this, great job. :smt023
Semper cogitatio
Graham

rjlittlefield
Site Admin
Posts: 21392
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:34 am
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA
Contact:

Post by rjlittlefield »

Amazing work, indeed!

I was hoping that somebody else would do this before I felt compelled to try, because I know how very difficult and time-consuming it is to pull off something like this.

To see the mechanism described and illustrated so clearly is a huge treat for me!

I suspect it will also become a standard reference for years in the future.

Nice, very nice...

--Rik

Graham Stabler
Posts: 209
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2007 11:22 am
Location: Swindon, UK

Post by Graham Stabler »

That's really great stuff, the manipulation would be hard enough without having to record each step so nicely.

I have a paper about this if you are interested, it also has some pretty neat photos but nothing like this.

Graham

NikonUser
Posts: 2656
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:03 am
Location: southern New Brunswick, Canada

Post by NikonUser »

If I had known Rik was going to do it I would have held off. :smt015

The paper would be an interesting read, nice to know if my description was close to what actually occurs.
NU.
student of entomology
Quote – Holmes on ‘Entomology’
” I suppose you are an entomologist ? “
” Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name.
No man can be truly called an entomologist,
sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr
The Poet at the Breakfast Table.

Nikon camera, lenses and objectives
Olympus microscope and objectives

lauriek
Posts: 2402
Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2007 6:57 am
Location: South East UK
Contact:

Post by lauriek »

Nice work NU!

The only thing missing is a picture of the whole earwig with the wing extended, I don't suppose you have one of those do you? (For proof to the unbelievers that these do in fact have wings!)

Harold Gough
Posts: 5786
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 2:17 am
Location: Reading, Berkshire, England

Post by Harold Gough »

Amazing series.

Perhaps they are thigmotropic to avoid having to go through all this! :D

Harold
My images are a medium for sharing some of my experiences: they are not me.

NikonUser
Posts: 2656
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:03 am
Location: southern New Brunswick, Canada

Post by NikonUser »

Graham Stabler wrote: I have a paper about this if you are interested, it also has some pretty neat photos but nothing like this.
Graham
Graham:
I received your PM and replied positively. However, the message is in my Outbox and I can see no way to send it- it may have been sent but it does not show in the Sent box.

EDIT: Rik say's it went, so deleted my e-mail address.
Last edited by NikonUser on Thu Oct 01, 2009 1:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
NU.
student of entomology
Quote – Holmes on ‘Entomology’
” I suppose you are an entomologist ? “
” Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name.
No man can be truly called an entomologist,
sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr
The Poet at the Breakfast Table.

Nikon camera, lenses and objectives
Olympus microscope and objectives

rjlittlefield
Site Admin
Posts: 21392
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:34 am
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA
Contact:

Post by rjlittlefield »

It's been sent. Messages appear in the sender's Outbox until the recipient reads them. Then on the sender's side, they magically migrate to Sentbox. Think of it as a somewhat bizarre form of read receipt.

--Rik

Post Reply Previous topicNext topic