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Re: surface/volume ratio and water loss in smallest amniotes
On Feb 10, 2010, at 5:29 PM, David Peters wrote:
It seems like rain and windy conditions makes all small flyers seek
cover though. Maybe large ones too. I rarely get mosquito bites in a
strong breeze. You?
Wind and rain are obviously relatively more severe for small flyer
than large ones - and many do seek shelter. However, some do not, and
insects have known mechanisms for compensation in windy conditions (up
to a point). Weather conditions aren't unimportant, but if the
smallest vertebrate flyers were at a flight limit, then flying insects
shouldn't be any smaller, and of course most of them are. In fact,
the smallest flying insects are so small that the appear to fly by
drag-based propulsion instead of lift based - they paddle through the
air because it is so viscous to them.
Interesting factoid: I found that bee hummingbirds drink 8x their
body weight in water every day, so there's one solution. And
evidently there IS a problem with the surface/volume ratio and the
threat of desiccation.
I would think that it matters, sure. But like you said, there may be
solutions - drink huge amounts of water, live in humid areas, have
more water-tight coverings, etc.