A Caltech Library Service

The production of elevated flight force compromises manoeuvrability in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster

Lehmann, Fritz-Olaf and Dickinson, Michael H. (2001) The production of elevated flight force compromises manoeuvrability in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Journal of Experimental Biology, 204 (4). pp. 627-635. ISSN 0022-0949.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


In this study, we have investigated how enhanced total flight force production compromises steering performance in tethered flying fruit flies, Drosophila melanogaster. The animals were flown in a closed-loop virtual-reality flight arena in which they modulated total flight force production in response to vertically oscillating visual patterns. By simultaneously measuring stroke amplitude and stroke frequency, we recorded the ability of each fly to modulate its wing kinematics at different levels of aerodynamic force production. At a flight force that exactly compensates body weight, the temporal deviations with which fruit flies vary their stroke amplitude and frequency are approximately 27° and 4.8 Hz of their mean value, respectively. This variance in wing kinematics decreases with increasing flight force production, and at maximum force production fruit flies are restricted to a unique combination of stroke amplitude, stroke frequency and mean force coefficient. This collapse in the kinematic envelope during peak force production could greatly attenuate the manoeuvrability and stability of animals in free flight.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Dickinson, Michael H.0000-0002-8587-9936
Additional Information:© 2001 by Company of Biologists. Accepted 4 December 2000; published on WWW 1 February 2001. We would like to thank the two unknown referees for their helpful comments on this manuscript. This project was funded by a grant Le905/4 of the German Science Foundation (DFG).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)Le905/4
Subject Keywords:steering capacity; course control; manoeuvrability; flight; force production; fruit fly; Drosophila melanogaster
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:LEHjeb01
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:13761
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:03 Apr 2009 21:55
Last Modified:24 Nov 2015 23:30

Repository Staff Only: item control page