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Ten-winged aliens from outer space in mosquito cloud - Stock Image

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This is a cloud of gnats / mosquitoes, dancing in evening sunlight on the coastal path of southern Cornwall.

On close examination you can see many creatures with five pairs of wings in this insect cloud. This is not the first time such creatures have been seen, and similar viewings have been cast as alien invaders from another world. The names given to them are 'rods', 'sky fish' and 'solar entities'. (I like the last name especially.) Rods have an entry of their own in Wikipedia, under the sub-heading of 'cryptozoology and ufology'.

These ten-winged mosquitoes are formed as follows. Mosquitoes beat their wings around 500 times per second. The photograph was taken at 1/100th of a second. In 1/100th of a second the wings beat five times, and the low, slanting sunlight has caught the wings 'just so' on each separate wing-beat. Adding to the effect, each insect gets a long body formed by its movement in a straight line.

Note: this is a straight exposure in broad daylight, no flash was used. The ten wings effect is an artifact, literally a trick of the light, which is why I like the description 'solar entities'.

Various other photographs of flying:

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