Fig wasps are tiny little things(~1mm body size) and this project aimed at measuring their wing-beat frequency. *spoiler alert* it’s about 200Hz. Working with PhD candidate Vignesh V. at the Center for Ecological Sciences(CES), IISc I made this computer interfaced laser tachometer. I also wrote code to analyze the data in MATLAB. You can read more about the project in my report. The tachometer is still in active use in the RMB Lab, CES, IISc.

The following publications heavily feature data from the tachometer:

“Fast” and “Slow” wasps: How to move across fig wasp microcosms
Vignesh Venateswaran, Anusha Kumble, Amitabh Shrivastava, Renee Borges
Evolution 2016

Wing beat frequency analyzer set up for recording data from four wasps simultaneously

The following data is from the very first time I tested the tachometer. I remember clearly as I sat in the lab with Vignesh, both of us excited to watch the wasp flap it’s wings. It was around ten at night when we started the experiment and it we didn’t leave the lab until breakfast.

Sample data. Horizontal bars: + 1 standard deviation.

I would like to thank PhD candidate Vignesh V. from CES, IISc for inspiring this project as well as for the helpful discussions and continued moral support.