Characterizing Mosquito Flight Using Measurement And Simulation

Other Titles
The mosquito Aedes aegypti is a dengue fever vector. Via its flight, it spreads potentially fatal disease to millions of people each year. In this dissertation I describe my work recording Aedes males using high speed imaging, quantifying and analyzing their motion, and simulating their flight. I describe image processing techniques that have allowed us to characterize their body position and orientation as well as their wing motion. We find that mosquitoes fly with a sideways component to their flight more often than other recorded Dipterans, and rely on sideslipping turns to change their flight direction. We show quantitatively that they use their stroke plane roll angle to generate sideways accelerations. We also show that, unlike many Dipterans, they do not use their pitch angle to control forward acceleration. Their body roll angle is thus central to the control of their motion. Using computer simulation to probe the stability characteristics of their flight we find that, like other Dipterans, the motion of these mosquitoes lies near the boundary between asymptotic stability and instability. However, the linearized map describing the motion of the body from one wingbeat to the next is not self-adjoint, resulting in potentially large growth of perturbations on the shorter timescales relevant to mosquito motion. These perturbations are rotated as they grow, potentially leading to a reduction in the dimension of the controller.
Journal / Series
Volume & Issue
Date Issued
mosquito flight; lateral motion; dynamic flight stability; wingbeat kinematics
Effective Date
Expiration Date
Union Local
Number of Workers
Committee Chair
Guckenheimer, John Mark
Committee Co-Chair
Committee Member
Strogatz, Steven H
Hoy, Ronald Raymond
Cohen, Itai
Degree Discipline
Applied Mathematics
Degree Name
Ph. D., Applied Mathematics
Degree Level
Doctor of Philosophy
Related Version
Related DOI
Related To
Related Part
Based on Related Item
Has Other Format(s)
Part of Related Item
Related To
Related Publication(s)
Link(s) to Related Publication(s)
Link(s) to Reference(s)
Previously Published As
Government Document
Other Identifiers
Rights URI
dissertation or thesis
Accessibility Feature
Accessibility Hazard
Accessibility Summary
Link(s) to Catalog Record