BEACON TRANSCRIPT – If you thought that only butterflies are majestic, then check out this little dude that can literally fly underwater. A team of researchers from the US has discovered that a species of sea snail fly just like a butterfly.
The sea still holds its share of mysteries and wonders, the sea butterflies being one of them. These tiny snail-like creatures can swivel under the sea much like a bird in the air. Sea butterflies they are called, and they are so tiny and fragile that studying them proved to be quite challenging.
Although scientists had knowledge of this sea creature for quite a while now, they were unable to determine how the sea snail can fly underwater. But thanks to the efforts of a group of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, we are now aware of how the fragile creature performs its enchanting underwater ballet.
A sea butterfly, also known as Limacina helicina, is able to use its wings in order to move through the water at dazzling speeds. The wing-like propellers of the Limacina helicina, protrude their shell in order to help them move through the water.
And in order to study the fragile sea creatures, the team of researchers had to ship a whole batch of sea butterflies to a special research center located in Atlanta. Once they arrived, the researchers dunk the snail in a tank filled with water. This tank had a V-shaped formation at its bottom, which allowed the researchers to mount several high-speed cameras. Using this thingamabob, the team could capture the motion of the Limacina helicina.
However, the researchers were pressed by time. According to David Murphy, one of the scientists involved in the project, the time had a brief interval before the water’s conditions began to decline. All in all, the snail managed to make 4 good passes, although the camera recorded over 30 passes.
Taking a closer look at the picture, the scientists managed to see how this tiny sea creature uses its wings in order to move unhindered through the water. According to study, the Limacina helicina moves its wings in a figure-eight pattern. Limacina’s wing movement is very similar to that of the fruit fly.
Moreover, each time the snail flaps its wings, they tend to touch at the tip. Researchers said that the snail uses this motion in order to lift itself in the water. And this artistical flap of wings also creates a low-pressure system above the sea butterfly. This ensures that the snail is capable of staying afloat.
A team of researchers from the United States has discovered that sea snail fly like a butterfly and managed to capture the whole performance on tape.