Because ladybug hindwings are covered by an opaque outer shell called an elytra, scientists were not sure how the wings' folding mechanism worked until Kazuya Saito created a clear replacement shell that allowed them to film the process in super slow-motion.
Via the paper by Saito's team:
Three-dimensional models of the hindwings in C. septempunctata reconstructed from the results of micro-CT. (A, Upper Left) Unfolded hindwing (from the underside). (A, Lower Right) Slice view on the white line is shown. Compared with other parts, the cross-sections of the main supporting veins (SV1, SV2) have no difference in thickness but have a characteristic curved shape. (B) Folded hindwing. The main supporting veins are bent into a cylindrical shape (white circles) similar to the shape of a tape spring.
• Ladybugs fold their wings like origami (YouTube / New Scientist) via NPR
Image: Michelle Tribe