The local circulation method was applied to the free forward flight of the damselfly Ceriagrion melanurum Selys. The kinematic data used in the calculations were obtained by analyzing video-taped images of damselflies in free flight in a transparent container. The inclination of the stroke plane was smaller and the flapping amplitude was larger than those of dragonflies reported in other studies on odonate flight. However, the phase shift between the fore- and hindwings agreed with none of the previously reported patterns for damselflies: the forewings lead the hindwings by approximately a quarter-period. The calculated forces were within the expected range of error. The muscle-mass-specific power was between 40 and 80 W kg-1. The vorticity distribution of trailing and shed vortices in the wake was also analyzed. Strong trailing vortices were observed at the wing tips, whereas shed vortices were concentrated near the wing root as the stroke switched direction.

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