Hello!

I have a really interesting question on the subject of flight. What would be the advantages and disadvantages of membrane wings compared to feathered wings?

I have done quite a bit of self-research on it myself and came to some conclusions: (let me know if they are right)

1. membranes are much better at gaining lift because they are sensitive, and are therefore reducing the need for such huge pectoral muscles/breast bones (I noticed how bats and pterosaurs have much smaller sternums compared to birds)

2. Because feathers are basically numb, they dont require as much energy to use as membranes and are therefore more efficient and can fly longer distances. But as a drawback they aren't as advanced in flight?

3. Feathers have the advantage of durability and they can re-grow and also insulate. Whereas membranes are fragile and only operate in warm temperatures (as far as I know bats dont live in cold climates)

Any addition to this list of differences would be really helpful and interesting, thanks!

I think your point #1 is wrong: feathered wings are just as good at generating lift as mebranous ones -- the reason birds have huge pectoral muscles is for flapping, not gliding.

I doubt #2 as well.

But #3 seems correct: membranes tear, and it's virtually impossible for them to be used in that state, whereas loss of a feather or two is not that big a deal for a bird.

Finally, I think the dominance of birds over bats in most ecosystems suggests that the avian system is better -- certainly it enables them to reach much larger sizes. But the very different membranes of pterosaurs enabled them to get even bigger.