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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Flying snake Mystery revealed

Although wingless, snakes of the genus Chrysopelea able to glide from one tree branch to another with grace. It often gets the nickname as 'flying snake'. Snakes are commonly found in the Southeast Asia rainforests was actually not really fly. Now, the scientists may have solved the mystery of why it can levitate.
A flying paradise tree snake, Chrysopelea paradisi. (Picture from: http://www.livescience.com/)
In the Journal of Experimental Biology, the scientists say that snakes are radically changing its shape to generate aerodynamic force that allows it to 'fly'. "Intuitively the snakes can not fly. Currently see it, you would think: 'surely it can not do it (fly). And see the shape of its body, that opinion may be true," said Professor Jake Socha of Virginia Tech, like quoted by the BBC, on Thursday, January 30, 2014.
The aerodynamic forces are comparable with those generated by a plane's wing. (Picture from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/)
Then why that snakes can do it? "When the air, taking off, jumping, and gliding from branch to branch, the snake turned out to drastically alter its body," added Professor Socha. There are 5 species of flying snakes of the genus Chrysopelea are known to exist in the world.
The snake's cross-section changed from round to much flatter at the bottom. (Picture from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/)
The snakes's undulating dance that enable it to float, rather than just creeping on the ground. "When it jumped, snake straightening up from the back of the head to the base of the tail. Then, using ribs that can move freely, creating a circular motion towards the head and upwards, towards the spine." The movement creates a flicker of movement. Snake body change shape, from a round shaped to be flat and concave on the bottom.

The team then analyzed the resulting aerodynamic forces that shape change in the air. By making a clone of a plastic snake canting. They were then placed in a tank containing water. "The water flowing through it. Currently we measure the strength of the model, we also visualize the movement of the water flow using laser and high-speed cameras," said Socha further.

He added, the flying snake produce aerodynamic force that could be compared to what is produced by the aircraft wing. "The team argues, the snake dance combine with its physical undulating transformation in the air to fly across the forest canopy," said Socha. The canopy is a form of a branching tree limb that covered the land beneath it.
"The snake moved its head from one side to the other, creating waves in the lower body. 's As if the animal is swimming in the air," said Professor Socha. In addition to uncover the mystery of how the snake fly to float in the air, the team said, knowledge about these animals can inspire the development of robots that have a crawl, climb, and slide. ***  [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | BBC | LIVESCIENCE]
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