Video: These mesmerizing insect flight sequences were shot at 6,000 frames per second

Lead image: Ichneumonid wasp. Image credit: Dr. Adrian Smith

Dr. Adrian Smith is the head of the Evolutionary Biology and Behavior Research Lab at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and North Carolina State University. Dr. Smith is also the creator of some amazing slow-motion videos of insects.

Earlier this year, we saw springtails jumping at a jaw-dropping 73,000 frames per second (fps) and a video showcasing seven beautiful moths taking flight at 6,000 fps.

Dr. Smith is back with another video shot at 6,000 fps, this time showcasing flight sequences of numerous insects, including, in order of appearance, the flatid planthopper, Chinese mantis, American bird grasshopper, broad-headed sharpshooter, stink bug, ichneumonid wasp, brown lacewing and the tiger moth.

A viewer from Dr. Smith’s YouTube channel, Ant Lab, sent Smith a copy of the book ‘Borne on the Wind: The Extraordinary World of Insects in Flight,‘ by Stephen Dalton. The book, which can be found in used condition online, was published in 1975 and features beautiful portraits of insects in flight. Dalton’s work was so impressive that some of his photos were included on the gold record sent to space on Voyager space probe.

The book cover for Stephen Dalton’s ‘Borne on the Wind.’

Dalton used a specially-designed flash that could fire at 1/25,000s and used a custom-made electronic shutter. Today, Dr. Smith can use a high-tech Phantom camera, high-tech lenses and modern lighting solutions. However, Dr. Smith wanted to honor Dalton’s original style. To have multiple insects in a single frame, Dr. Smith edited multiple captures together, as he’s done in some of his previous work, which can be viewed below.

To see more of Dr. Smith’s excellent work, head over to his website and his YouTube channel, Ant Lab.

Image credit: Images used with Dr. Adrian Smith’s permission.