I asked ChatGPT “Has anyone ever compared dragonfly wings and maple samaras?.” Here was the answer:

Yes, the comparison between dragonfly wings and maple samaras has been made before, primarily due to their similar structures and aerodynamic properties. Both dragonfly wings and maple samaras (also known as “helicopter seeds” or “whirlybirds”) exhibit a type of aerodynamic design that allows them to efficiently travel through the air.

Dragonfly wings are known for their intricate network of veins, which provide strength and flexibility while also minimizing weight. Maple samaras, on the other hand, have a characteristic wing shape with a central seed or fruit attached. When maple samaras fall from trees, they spin as they descend, much like a helicopter rotor, which helps them to disperse over a wide area.

Both dragonfly wings and maple samaras utilize a combination of lift and drag to achieve controlled flight or descent. This makes them interesting subjects for comparison in terms of biomimicry and understanding aerodynamic principles in nature. Scientists and engineers often draw inspiration from such natural designs to develop innovative technologies in fields like aerospace and robotics.

sugar maple samara and dragonfly wing

P.S. Once an aerospace engineer, always an aerospace engineer.

  • Carol says:

    When I was a little kid I would open the seed head of the maple samara remove the seed and stick the wing part to the bridge of my nose. Where the seed had been was slightly sticky and would stay for a while. My friends and I called each other “polly nose”. Thanks for the memories

  • Susan L. says:

    Wow. This photograph left me gobsmacked.
    By the way, I too wore sticky maple seeds on my nose! I must remember to share trick with my grandson when the time comes.


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