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Let's say I was working on the evolution of hexapod creatures that are like a combination of a starfish and an octopus. If they climbed the local trees, would it be possible for every other arm to evolve into a wing and for them to fly in a spinning motion like a maple seed?

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    $\begingroup$ Do you want them to be able to steer and remain in the air, or do they just fall to the ground like a spinning seed? $\endgroup$ – chasly - supports Monica Jan 6 at 10:58
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    $\begingroup$ a combination starfish octopus will need a lot a clarification if you want to ask biomechanical questions about them, they are very different both biomechanically and structurally. A starfish has more in common with YOU than it does an octopus. $\endgroup$ – John Jan 6 at 18:48
  • $\begingroup$ Valid point. I just meant that it would look like one from the outside $\endgroup$ – Joe Smith Jan 6 at 23:39
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Unlikely

  1. there is no reason to give up functional limbs for poor gliding.

  2. Spinning is not something that helps flight it wastes a lot of energy that could go into actual propulsion. it helps maple leaves because they are parachuting and wasting energy is what you want.

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I'm sure that it would be biochemically possible for your creature to develop the characteristics you describe, the main issue would be why? What evolutionary advantage would it gain from this?

The other issues to consider are the weight of the creature and its environment. If gravitation was less than on Earth it would help a lot otherwise something the size of an octopus would need a large wing to prevent it falling too quickly.

Any detailed look at this would need to know more about the creature. Is it a carnivore or herbivore? Why is it evolving flight? Does it help it to catch it's prey or does it help it to escape predators?

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They could surely glide extending their appendices.

I am not sure they could actively keep themselves spinning to have a more active flight. While it is possible to turn on oneself without external torque with an appropriate motion (what cats do when falling and turning midair) I am not so sure that it can be done while keeping a flight favorable attitude.

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