Blender Models, Animation and Draw Calls

I'm trying to make a game where I have a bunch of bugs flying around. I modelled up a simple bug in Blender, loaded it into Unity, then duplicated it a bunch of times and it seemed to batch fine.

Then I added in a simple flapping wing animation to the bug from inside blender and I noticed that the bugs no longer seemed to batch. I then removed the animation from the Blender file with the intent of controlling the wings bones and code, but the draw calls kept going up.

Then I tried setting it so that the animations weren't imported into Unity, and that fixed the draw calls, but I could no longer controls the models with the bones.

That brings me to my question - is there anyway to get this animation working in blender without bumping up the draw calls with every instance of a bug?

I know I can do it as 2D sprites if I really need to, but I would prefer to do it in 3D if at all possible

This is my first unity project so any hints or tips would be greatly appreciated :)

Cheers, Sev

Skinned meshes will not batch. You've got two options I can think of:

  1. Put all the bugs in the same mesh, with a set of bones for each.
  2. If the wings are only rigidly deformed, you can export the animation, but use parenting instead of skinning.

Or, just see how the performance is without batching.