Air-flow sensitive hairs: boundary layers in oscillatory flows around arthropod appendages

T. Steinmann, J. Casas, Gijsbertus J.M. Krijnen, O. Dangles

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    The aim of this work is to characterize the boundary layer over small appendages in insects in longitudinal and transverse oscillatory flows. The problem of immediate interest is the early warning system in crickets perceiving flying predators using air-flow-sensitive hairs on cerci, two long appendages at their rear. We studied both types of oscillatory flows around small cylinders using stroboscopic micro-particle image velocimetry as a function of flow velocity and frequency. Theoretical predictions are well fulfilled for both longitudinal and transverse flows. Transverse flow leads to higher velocities than longitudinal flow in the boundary layer over a large range of angles between flow and cylinder. The strong spatial heterogeneity of flow velocities around filiform-shaped appendages is a rich source of information for different flow-sensing animals. Our results suggest that crickets could perceive the direction of incoming danger by having air-flow-sensitive hairs positioned around their entire cerci. Implications for biomimetic flow-sensing MEMS are also presented.
    Original languageUndefined
    Article number10.1242/jeb.02506
    Pages (from-to)4398-4408
    Number of pages11
    JournalThe Journal of experimental biology
    Issue number10.1242/jeb.02506
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


    • EC Grant Agreement nr.: FP6/016039
    • TST-Life like
    • METIS-238667
    • EWI-6188
    • IR-66213

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