Lindhe Norberg, Ulla M. Department of Zoomorphology, Zoological Institute, University of Goteborg, Goteborg, Sweden.
Last reviewed:June 2019
Show previous versions
- Energy expenditure
- Gliding flight
- Flapping flight
- Wing shape and flight behavior
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
An animal's movement through the atmosphere sustained by aerodynamic reaction or other forces. Animal flight includes gliding and flapping flight. Gliding flight does not involve the generation of thrust, whereas flapping flight does generate thrust via the beating of wings, which are thin structures that produce lift. Four animal groups evolved flapping flight, namely insects, pterosaurs, birds (Fig. 1), and bats. Flapping flight in vertebrates was probably preceded by gliding; in insects it may have originated by leaping and gliding, by surface skimming on water, or (if small enough) by passive floating in the air. Flying insects show greater variation than flying vertebrates, and their flight spans a wider range of Reynolds numbers, which is the ratio of inertial forces to viscous forces in the flow. Flight of tiny insects is in the lower range of Reynolds numbers, where viscous forces are dominant, whereas large insects and vertebrates operate in the higher range, where inertial forces are important. See also: Animal; Atmosphere; Aves; Chiroptera; Insect flight muscle; Insecta; Pterosauria; Reynolds number; Wing
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 10,000 highly qualified scientists and 46 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information