Flying snakes are capable of undulate their our bodies as they glide via the air, and people distinctive actions permit them to take flight, scientists have discovered.

These snakes, such Chrysopelea paradisi, often known as the paradise tree snake, are likely to reside within the bushes of South and Southeast Asia. Whereas up there, they transfer alongside tree branches and, generally, to succeed in one other tree, they will launch themselves into the air and glide down at an angle.

For his or her analysis revealed within the journal Nature Physics, scientists from Virginia Tech put motion-capture tags on seven snakes and filmed them with high-speed cameras because the snakes flew throughout a four-story excessive theater.

Jack Socha, a professor within the division of biomedical engineering and mechanics at Virginia Tech who has studied these snakes for greater than 20 years, labored along with his colleagues to construct a 3D mannequin after measuring greater than 100 stay snake glides.

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The paradise tree snake mid-glide.
(Photograph by Jake Socha)

Their mannequin components in frequencies of undulating waves, their course, forces appearing on the physique, and mass distribution. With it, the researchers have run digital experiments to analyze aerial undulation.

“In all these years, I believe I’ve seen near a thousand glides,” stated Socha in a press release. “It’s nonetheless superb to see each time. Seeing it in particular person, there’s one thing a bit of totally different about it. It’s stunning nonetheless. What precisely is that this animal doing? Having the ability to reply the questions I’ve had since I used to be a graduate pupil, many, a few years later, is extremely satisfying.”

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In a single set of experiments that aimed to discern why undulation was a part of every glide, they simulated what would occur if it wasn’t. They did this by turning it off. When their digital snake could not undulate within the air, its physique would fall.

That take a look at, paired with simulated glides that saved the motion going, confirmed their speculation — that aerial undulation enhances rotational stability in flying snakes.

“This work demonstrates that aerial undulation in snakes serves a unique perform than identified makes use of of undulation in different animals, and suggests a brand new template of management for dynamic flying robots,” the scientists conclude of their paper’s summary.



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