Methods to electronically manipulate flight muscles of moths and monitor the electrical signals they use to control those muscles are being developed by North Carolina University researchers. The research gives scientists a platform to collect data about flight co-ordination.
The technique involves attaching electrodes to a moth during its pupal stage when the caterpillar in a cocoon undergoes metamorphosis to enter the winged stage. By attaching electrodes to the muscle groups responsible for moths’ flight, the team will be able to monitor electromyographic signals (signals the moth uses during flight to inform muscles of actions to be taken). The moths are connected to a wireless platform which collects the electromyographic data whenever a moth moves it wings. The moths are given freedom to turn left and right.
By watching how moths use their wings to steer during flight, and matching those movements with their corresponding electromyographic signals, researchers could get a much better understanding of how moths manoeuvre through the air. The key aim of the research is to use the knowledge of controlling flight movement of moths during search and rescue operations.