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Unlike most insects, paleopterans have wing muscles that connect directly with the wing. Could this musculature be used to let a soft, maggot-like insect fly?

The insect is relatively large (around 5cm long) and has sclerotized wings, legs, and sterna on the thorax. It has 4 wings. The head is sclerotized, and thorax and abdomen are soft like a maggot (aside from what's been mentioned)

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    $\begingroup$ If it has a sternum or sterna, it's not soft-bodied. Can you clarify what the anchor points are. How can the legs work without ancourage? $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 17, 2023 at 13:14
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    $\begingroup$ Does this actually matter? If you want flying maggots in your world then you can have flying maggots. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Jan 17, 2023 at 13:53

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No.

Insects have 2 different flight mechanisms.

The most common one is indirect flight.

enter image description here

Insects that use indirect flight have flight muscles attached to the inside of the thorax, and move the wings by pulling the two halves of the thorax in and out, like a piston, and flipping the wings up and down with them.

The second, which is what you're referring to, is direct flight.

enter image description here

This mode of flight is used by mayflies and odonates. The muscles attach directly to the wing bases. Without support from the hard thorax, these muscles wouldn't be able to move the wings. The thorax would just deform.

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