Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 204, Issue 4, pp 409–417 | Cite as

Slow viscoelastic response of resilin

  • Alexander Kovalev
  • Alexander Filippov
  • Stanislav N. Gorb
Original Paper


The high importance of resilin in invertebrate biomechanics is widely known. It is generally assumed to be an almost perfect elastomer in different tissues. Whereas mechanical properties of resilin were previously determined mainly in tension, here we aimed at studying its mechanical properties in compression. Microindentation of resilin from the wing hinge of Locusta migratoria revealed the clear viscoelastic response of resilin: about a quarter of the mechanical response was assigned to a viscous component in our experiments. Mechanical properties were characterized using a generalized Maxwell model with two characteristic time constants, poroelasticity theory, and alternatively using a 1D model with just one characteristic time constant. Slow viscous responses with 1.7 and 16 s characteristic times were observed during indentation. These results demonstrate that the locust flight system is adapted to both fast and slow mechanical processes. The fast highly elastic process is related to the flight function and the slow viscoelastic process may be related to the wing folding.


Viscoelasticity Stress relaxation Generalized Maxwell model Insect Wing 



We thank Bernhard Jäkle for technical support in performing experiments. This study was supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Georg Forster Research Award to AF).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department Functional Morphology and BiomechanicsZoological Institute of the Kiel UniversityKielGermany
  2. 2.Donetsk Institute for Physics and EngineeringNational Academy of ScienceDonetskUkraine

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