The Miraculous Design in the Flight of Insects
When the subject of flight is considered, birds immediately come to mind.
However, birds are not the only creatures that can fly. Many species of
insects are equipped with flight capabilities superior to those of birds.
The Monarch butterfly can fly from North America to the interior of Continental
America. Flies and dragonflies can remain suspended in the air.
Evolutionists claim that insects started flying 300 million years ago.
Nonetheless, they are not able to provide any conclusive answers to fundamental
questions such as: how did the first insect develop wings, take flight
or keep suspended in the air?
Evolutionists only claim that some layers of skin on the body probably
could have turned into wings. Aware of the unsoundness of their claim,
they also assert that the fossil specimens to verify this assertion are
not available yet.
Nature photographer Gilles Martin observing dragonflies.
Nevertheless, the flawless design of insect wings leaves no room for
coincidence. In an article entitled "The Mechanical Design of Insect Wings"
the English biologist Robin Wootton writes:
The better we understand the functioning of insect
wings, the more subtle and beautiful their designs appear... Structures
are traditionally designed to deform as little as possible; mechanisms
are designed to move component parts in predictable ways. Insect wings
combine both in one, using components with a wide range of elastic properties,
elegantly assembled to allow appropriate deformations in response to
appropriate forces and to make the best possible use of the air. They
have few if any technological parallels-yet.4
On the other hand, there is not a single fossil evidence
for the imaginary evolution of insects. That is what the famous French
zoologist Pierre Paul Grassé referred to when he stated, "We are in the
dark concerning the origin of insects."5 Now let us examine
some of the interesting features of these creatures that leave the evolutionists
in complete darkness.
The Inspiration for the Helicopter: The Dragonfly
The wings of the dragonfly cannot be folded back on its body. In addition,
the way in which the muscles for flight are used in the motion of the
wings differs from the rest of insects. Because of these properties, evolutionists
claim that dragonflies are "primitive insects".
In contrast, the flight system of these so-called
"primitive insects" is nothing less than a wonder of design. The world's
leading helicopter manufacturer, Sikorsky, finished the design of one
of their helicopters by taking the dragonfly as a model.6
IBM, which assisted Sikorsky in this project, started by putting a model
of a dragonfly in a computer (IBM 3081). Two thousand special renderings
were done on computer in the light of the manoeuvres of the dragonfly
in air. Therefore, Sikorsky's model for transporting personnel and artillery
was built upon examples derived from dragonflies.
Gilles Martin, a nature photographer, has done a two year study examining
dragonflies, and he also concluded that these creatures have an extremely
complex flight mechanism.
The body of a dragonfly looks like a helical structure wrapped with metal.
Two wings are cross-placed on a body that displays a colour gradation
from ice blue to maroon. Because of this structure, the dragonfly is equipped
with superb manoeuvrability. No matter at what speed or direction it is
already moving, it can immediately stop and start flying in the opposite
direction. Alternatively, it can remain suspended in air for the purpose
of hunting. At that position, it can move quite swiftly towards its prey.
It can accelerate up to a speed that is quite surprising for an insect:
25mph (40km/h), which would be identical to an athlete running 100 metres
in the Olympics at 24.4mph (39km/h).
At this speed, it collides with its prey. The shock of the impact is
quite strong. However, the armoury of the dragonfly is both very resistant
and very flexible. The flexible structure of its body absorbs the impact
of collision. However, the same cannot be said for its prey. The dragonfly's
prey would pass out or even be killed by the impact.
Following the collision, the rear legs of dragonfly take on the role
of its most lethal weapons. The legs stretch forward and capture the shocked
prey, which is then swiftly dismembered and consumed by powerful jaws.
Sikorsky helicopters were designed in imitation
of the flawless design and manoeuvr ability of a dragonfly.
The sight of the dragonfly is as impressive as is its ability to perform
sudden manoeuvres at high speed. The eye of the dragonfly is accepted
as the best example among all the insects. It has a pair of eyes, each
of which features approximately thirty thousand different lenses. Two
semi-spherical eyes, each nearly half the size of the head, provide the
insect a very wide visual field. Because of these eyes, the dragonfly
can almost keep an eye on its back.
Therefore, the dragonfly is an assemblage of systems, each of which has
a unique and perfect structure. Any malfunction in any one of these systems
would derail the other systems as well. However, all of these systems
are created without flaw and, hence, the creature lives on.
The Wings of the Dragonfly
The most significant feature of the dragonfly is its wings. However,
it is not possible through a model of progressive evolution to explain
the flight mechanism that enables the use of the wings. First, the theory
of evolution is at a loss on the subject of the origin of wings because
they could only function if they developed altogether at once, in order
to operate correctly.
Let us assume, for a moment, that the genes of an insect on land underwent
a mutation and some parts of the skin tissue on the body showed an uncertain
change. It would be quite beyond reason to suggest that another mutation
on top of this change could "coincidentally" add up to a wing. Furthermore,
neither would the mutations to the body provide a whole wing to the insect
nor would it do any good but decrease its mobility. The insect, then,
needs to carry extra load, which does not serve any real purpose. This
would put the insect at a disadvantage against rivals. Moreover, according
to the fundamental principle of the theory of evolution, natural selection
would have made this handicapped insect and its descendants extinct.
The eye of a dragonfly is considered the world's most complicated
insect eye structure. Each eye contains about thirty thousand
lenses. These eyes occupy about half the area of the head and
provide the insect with a very wide visual field because of which
it can almost keep an eye on its back. The wings of a dragonfly
are of such a complex design that they make any conception of
coincidence's involvement in their origin nonsense. The aerodynamic
membrane of the wings and each pore on the membrane is a direct
result of plan and calculation.
Mutations, moreover, occur very seldom. They always harm the creatures,
leading to deadly sicknesses in most cases. This is why it is impossible
for small mutations to cause some formations on the body of a dragonfly
to evolve into a flight mechanism. After all this, let us ask ourselves:
even if we assume, against all odds, that the scenario suggested by evolutionists
might have been real, why is it that the "primitive dragonfly" fossils
which would give substance to this scenario do not exist?
The figure above shows the wing movement of a dragonfly during
flight. The front wings are marked with red dots. A close examination
reveals that the front and back pairs of wings are flapped to
a different rhythm, which gives the insect a superb flight technique.
The motion of the wings is made possible by special muscles operating
Supposedly 250 million-year-old fossil dragonfly and a modern
There is no difference between the oldest dragonfly fossils and the dragonflies
of today. There is no remains of "a half-dragonfly" or a "dragonfly with
newly emerging wings" that predates these oldest fossils.
The chitin substance surrounding the body of insects is strong
enough to act as a skeleton, which in this insect, is formed into
a very eye-catching colour.
Just as the rest of the life forms, the dragonfly, too, appeared all
at once and has not changed to this day. In other words, it was created
by God and never "evolved".
The skeletons of insects are formed by a tough, protective substance,
called chitin. This substance was created with enough strength to form
the exoskeleton. It is also flexible enough to be moved by the muscles
used for flight. The wings can move back and forth or up and down. This
motion of wings is facilitated by a complex joint structure. The dragonfly
has two pairs of wings, one in a forward position with respect to the
other. The wings operate asynchronously. That is, while the two frontal
wings ascend, the back pair of wings descend. Two opposing muscle groups
move the wings. The muscles are tied to levers inside the body. While
one group of muscles pull up a pair of wings by contracting, the other
muscle group opens the other pair by reflexing. Helicopters ascend and
descend by a similar technique. This allows a dragonfly to hover, go backward,
or quickly change direction.
Metamorphosis of the Dragonfly
Female dragonflies do not mate again after fertilisation. However, this
does not create any problem for the males of the Calopteryx Virgo species.
By using the hooks on its tail, the male captures the female by the neck
(1). The female wraps her legs around the tail of the male. The male,
by using special extensions on its tail (2), cleans any possible sperm
left from another male. Then, he injects his sperm into the female's reproductive
cavity. Since this process takes hours, they sometimes fly in this clenched
position. The dragonfly leaves the mature eggs in the shallows of a lake
or a pool (3). Once the nymph hatches from the egg, it lives in water
for three to four years (4). During this time, it also feeds in water
(5). For this reason, it was created with a body capable of swimming fast
enough to catch a fish and jaws powerful enough to dismember a prey. As
the nymph grows, the skin wrapping its body tightens. It sheds this skin
at four different times. When it is time for the final change, it leaves
the water and starts climbing a tall plant or a rock (6). It climbs until
its legs give in. Then, it secures itself by help of clamps at the tips
of its feet. One slip and a fall means death at that point.
This last phase differs from the previous four in that God moulds the
nymph into a flying creature through a wonderful transformation.
The back of the nymph cracks first (7). The crack widens and becomes
an open slot through which a new creature, totally different from the
preceding, struggles to get out. This extremely fragile body is secured
with ties that stretch from the previous creature (8). These ties are
created to have ideal transparency and flexibility. Otherwise they would
break and not be able to carry it, which could mean that the larva could
fall into the water and perish.
In addition, there are a series of special mechanisms that help the dragonfly
to shed its skin. The body of the dragonfly shrinks and becomes wrinkled
in the old body. In order to "open" this body, a special pump system and
a special body fluid are created to be used in this process. These wrinkled
body parts of the insect are inflated by pumping body fluid after getting
out through the slot (9). In the meantime, chemical solvents start to
break the ties of the new legs with the old ones without damage. This
process takes place perfectly even though it would be devastating if only
one of the legs were stuck. The legs are left to dry and harden for about
twenty minutes before any testing.
The wings are fully developed already but are in a folded position. The
body fluid is pumped by firm contractions of the body into the wing tissues
(10). The wings are left drying after stretching (11).
After it leaves the old body and dries out completely, the dragonfly
tests all the legs and wings. The legs are folded and stretched one by
one and wings are raised and lowered.
Finally, the insect attains the form designed for flight. It is very
hard for anyone to believe that this perfectly flying creature is the
same as the caterpillar-like creature that left the water (12). The dragonfly
pumps the excess fluids out, to balance the system. The metamorphosis
is complete and the insect is ready to fly.
One faces the impossibility of the claims of evolution again when one
tries by reasoning to find the origin of this miraculous transformation.
The theory of evolution claims that all creatures came about through random
changes. However, the metamorphosis of the dragonfly is an extremely intricate
process that leaves no room for even a small error in any phase. The slightest
obstacle in any one of these phases would cause metamorphosis to be incomplete
resulting in the injury or death of dragonfly. Metamorphosis is truly
an "irreducibly complex" cycle and therefore is an explicit proof of design.
In short, the metamorphosis of dragonfly is one of the countless evidences
of how flawlessly God creates living things. The wonderful art of God
manifests itself even in an insect.
Mechanics of Flight
The double balance wing system is found to
function in insects with less frequent flapping.
The wings of flies are vibrated according to the electric signals conducted
by the nerves. For example, in a grasshopper each one of these nerve signals
results in one contraction of the muscle that in turn moves the wing.
Two opposing muscle groups, known as "lifters" and "sinkers", enable the
wings to move up and down by pulling in opposite directions.
Grasshoppers flap their wings twelve to fifteen
times a second but smaller insects need a higher rate in order to fly.
For instance, while honeybees, wasps and flies flap their wings 200 to
400 times per second this rate goes up to 1000 in sandflies and some 1mm
long parasites.7 Another explicit evidence of perfect
creation is a 1mm long flying creature that can flap its wings at the
extraordinary rate of one thousand times a second without burning, tearing
or wearing out the insect.
When we examine these flying creatures a little closer, our appreciation
for their design multiplies.
It was mentioned that their wings are activated by means of electrical
signals conducted through the nerves. However, a nerve cell is only capable
of transmitting a maximum of 200 signals per second. Then, how is it possible
for the little flying insects to achieve 1000 wing flaps per second?
The flies that flap wings 200 times per second have a nerve-muscle relationship
that is different from that of grasshoppers. There is one signal conducted
for each ten wing flaps. In addition, the muscles known as fibrous muscles
work in a way different from the grasshopper's muscles. The nerve signals
only alert the muscles in preparation for the flight and, when they reach
a certain level of tension, they relax by themselves.
There is a system in flies, honeybees, and wasps that transforms wing
flaps into "automatic" movements. The muscles that enable flight in these
insects are not directly tied to the bones of the body. The wings are
attached to the chest with a joint that functions like a pivot. The muscles
that move the wings are connected at the bottom and top surfaces of the
chest. When these muscles contract, the chest moves in the opposite direction,
which, in turn, creates a downward pull.
Relaxing a group of muscles automatically results
in contraction of an opposite group followed by relaxation. In other words,
this is an "automatic system". This way, muscle movements continue without
interruption until an opposite alert signal is delivered through the nerves
that control the system.8
Some flies flap their wings up to a thousand
times per second. In order to facilitate this extraordinary movement,
a very special system was created. Rather than directly moving the
wings, the muscles activate a special tissue to which the wings
are attached by a pivot-like joint. This special tissue enables
the wings to flap numerous times with a single stroke.
A flight mechanism of this sort could be compared to a clock that works
on the basis of a wound spring. The parts are so strategically located
that a single move easily sets the wings in motion. It is impossible not
to see the flawless design in this example. The perfect creation of God
System Behind the Thrusting Force
It is not enough to flap wings up and down in order to maintain smooth
flight. The wings have to change angles during each flap to create a force
of thrust as well as an up-lift. The wings have a certain flexibility
for rotation depending on the type of insect. The main flight muscles,
which also produce the necessary energy for flight, provide this flexibility.
For instance, in ascending higher, these muscles between wing joints
contract further to increase the wing angle. Examinations conducted utilising
high-speed film techniques revealed that the wings followed an elliptical
path while in flight. In other words, the fly does not only move its wings
up and down but it moves them in a circular motion as in rowing a boat
on water. This motion is made possible by the main muscles.
The greatest problem encountered by insect species with small bodies
is inertia reaching significant levels. Air behaves as if stuck to the
wings of these little insects and reduces wing efficiency greatly.
Therefore, some insects, the wing size of which does not exceed one mm,
have to flap their wings 1000 times per second in order to overcome inertia.
Researchers think that even this speed alone
is not enough to lift the insect and that they make use of other systems
As an example, some types of small parasites, Encarsia, make use of a
method called "clap and peel". In this method, the wings are clapped together
at the top of the stroke and then peeled off. The front edges of the wings,
where a hard vein is located, separate first, allowing airflow into the
pressurised area in between. This flow creates a vortex helping the up-lift
force of the wings clapping.9
Dust flies require large amounts of energy in order to maintain
1000 flaps per second. This energy is found in the carbohydrate-rich
nutrients they gather from flowers. Because of their yellow and
black stripes and their resemblance to bees, these flies manage
to avoid the attention of many attackers.
There is another special system created for
insects to maintain a steady position in the air. Some flies have only
a pair of wings and round shaped organs on the back called halteres. The
halteres beat like a normal wing during flight but do not produce any
lift like wings do. The halteres move as the flight direction changes,
and prevent the insect from losing its direction. This system resembles
the gyroscope used for navigation in today's aircraft.10
A fly is 100 billion times smaller than an aircraft. Nevertheless,
it is equipped with a complex device functioning just like a gyroscope
and a horizontal leveller, which are vitally important for flying.
Its manoeuvrability and flight techniques, on the other hand, are
far superior to those of the plane.
Many insects can fold their
wings. When folded, the wings are easily manoeuvred by the
help of auxiliary parts on their tips. The U.S. Air Force
has produced E6B Intruder aircraft with folding wings after
being inspired by this example. While bees and flies are able
to fold their entire wings onto themselves, the E6B can only
fold one half of its wing over the other.
The wing joint is comprised of a special protein, called resilin,
which has tremendous flexibility. In laboratories, chemical engineers
are working to reproduce this chemical, which demonstrates properties
far superior to natural or artificial rubber. Resilin is a substance
capable of absorbing the force applied to it as well as releasing
the entire energy back once that force is lifted. From this point
of view, the efficiency of resilin reaches the very high value of
96%. This way, approximately 85% of the energy used to lift the
wing is stored and reused while lowering it.11 The
chest walls and muscles are also built to help this phenomenon.
The figure, which indicates the route travelled
by a bee placed inside a glass cube, shows how successful the bee
is in flying in any direction including upward and downward, in
landings and take offs.
The figure on left shows the manoeuvring capability of three aircraft
that are considered the best in their categories. However, flies
and bees are able to suddenly change course in any direction without
reducing speed. This example clearly demonstrates how weak the technology
of jet planes is in comparison with bees and flies.
The Respiratory System Special to Insects
Flies fly at extremely high speeds when compared to their size. Dragonflies
can travel as fast as 25 mph (40 km/h). Even smaller insects can reach
up to 31 mph (50km/h). These speeds are equivalent to humans travelling
at the speed of thousands of miles per hour. Humans can only reach these
speeds using jet planes. However, when one considers the size of jet planes
in comparison to the size of humans it becomes clear that these flies
actually fly faster than aeroplanes.
Jets use very special fuels to power their high-speed engines. The flight
of flies, too, requires high levels of energy. There is also a need for
large volumes of oxygen in order to burn this energy. The need for great
amounts of oxygen is satisfied by an extraordinary respiratory system
lodged within the bodies of flies and other insects.
This respiratory system works quite differently from ours. We take air
into our lungs. Here, oxygen mixes with the blood and then is carried
on to all parts of the body by the blood. The fly's need of oxygen is
so high that there is no time to wait for the oxygen to be delivered to
the body cells by the blood. To deal with this problem, there is a very
special system. The air tubes in the insect's body carry the air to different
parts of the fly's body. Just like the circulatory system in the body,
there is an intricate and complex network of tubes (called the tracheal
system) that delivers oxygen-containing air to every cell of the body.
There is an extraordinary system created in
the bodies of flies and other insects in order to meet the need
for a high oxygen supply: Air, just as in blood circulation, is
carried directly into tissues by means of special tubes.
Above is an example of this system in grasshoppers:
A) The windpipe of a grasshopper pictured
by an electron microscope. Around the walls of the pipe, there is
spiral reinforcement similar to that of the vacuum cleaner hose.
B) Each windpipe tube delivers oxygen to the
cells of the insect's body and removes carbon dioxide.
Thanks to this system, the cells that make up the flight muscles take
oxygen directly from these tubes. This system also helps to cool down
the muscles which function at such high rates as 1000 cycles per second.
It is evident that this system is an example of creation. No coincidental
process can explain an intricate design. It is also impossible for this
system to have developed in phases as suggested by evolution. Unless the
tracheal system is fully functional, no intermediate stage could be to
the advantage of the creature, but on the contrary, would harm it by rendering
its respiratory system non-functional.
All of the systems that we have explored so far uniformly demonstrate
that there is an extraordinary design to even the least significant of
creatures such as flies. Any single fly is a miracle that testifies to
the flawless design in the creation of God. On the other hand, the "evolutionary
process" espoused by Darwinism is far from explaining how a single system
in a fly develops.
"…THEY ARE NOT EVEN ABLE
TO CREATE A SINGLE FLY…"
Even a single fly is superior to all the technological devices that
mankind has produced. Furthermore, it is a "living being". Aircraft
and helicopters are of use for an appointed time after which they
are left to rust. The fly, on the other hand, produces similar offspring.
housefly uses the labellum in its mouthpart to "quality test"
food before feeding. Unlike many creatures, flies digest their
food externally. It applies a solvent fluid to the food. This
fluid dissolves the food into a liquid that the fly can suck.
Then, the fly takes the liquid nutrients into itself by means
of the labella which gently dabs liquids into its proboscis.
A fly can easily walk on the most slippery surfaces or stand
still on a ceiling for hours. Its feet are better equipped
to hold on to glass, walls and ceilings than those of a climber.
If the retractable claws are not enough, suction pads on its
feet attach it to the surface. The holding strength of the
suction has been increased with a specially applied fluid.
The flight of a housefly is an extremely
complex phenomenon. First, the fly meticulously inspects the organs
to be used in navigation. Then, it takes position ready for flight
by adjusting the balancing organs in front. Lastly, it calculates
the angle of take-off, dependent on wind direction and velocity,
by means of the sensors on its antennae. Then it takes flight. But,
all of these happen within one hundredth of a second. Once airborne,
it can accelerate rapidly and reach a speed of 6 mph (10 km/h).
For this reason, we could well use
the nickname "master of acrobatic flight" for it. It can fly in
extraordinary zigzags through the air. It can take off vertically
from where it stands. No matter how slippery or uninviting the surface,
it can land successfully anywhere.
Another feature of this magical master
of flight is its ability to land on ceilings. Because of gravity
it shouldn't hold on but fall down. However, it has been created
with certain systems to render the impossible possible. At the tip
of its legs, there are minute suction pads. In addition, these pads
exude a sticky fluid when in touch with a surface. This sticky fluid
enables it to remain attached to a ceiling. While approaching ceiling,
it stretches its legs forward and as soon as it senses the touch
of a ceiling it flips around and takes hold of the ceiling's surface.
The housefly has two wings. These wings, that are halfway merged
in the body and are comprised of a very thin membrane intersected
by veins, can be operated independently from one another. However,
while in flight they move back and forth on one axis just as in
single-winged planes. The muscles enabling movement of the wings
contract at take-off and relax on landing. Although controlled by
nerves at the beginning of flight, these muscles and wing movements
become automatic after a while.
The housefly's eye is composed of 6000 hexagonally
arranged eye structures, called ommatidia. Since each ommatidium
is directed in different directions, e.g. forwards, backwards, beneath,
above and on all sides, the fly can see everywhere. In other words,
it can sense everything within a 360-degree visual field. Eight
photo receptors (light-receiving) neurons are attached to each one
of these units therefore the total number of sensor cells in an
eye is about 48,000. This is how it can process up to one hundred
images per second.
The design of its wings gives a fly
its superior flying skills. The edges, surfaces and veins of these
wings are covered with highly sensitive sensory hairs which enable
the fly to detect airflow and mechanical pressures.
Sensors under the
wings and on the back of its head send information about the flight
immediately to its brain. If the fly encounters a new airflow during
flight, these sensors promptly send the necessary signals to the
brain. The muscles, then, start to direct the wings according to
the new situation. That is how a fly can detect another insect creating
extra airflow and can escape to safety most of the time. The housefly
moves its wings hundreds of times a second. The energy spent during
flight is roughly a hundred times that spent during rest. From this
point of view, we can say that it is a very powerful creature because
human metabolism can only spend ten times as much energy in emergency
situations in comparison to during the normal tempo of life. In
addition, a human can maintain this energy expenditure for a maximum
of only a few minutes. In contrast, the housefly can sustain that
rhythm for up to half an hour and it can travel up to a mile at
the same speed.12