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Odor localization requires visual feedback during free flight in Drosophila melanogaster

Frye, Mark A. and Tarsitano, Michael and Dickinson, Michael H. (2003) Odor localization requires visual feedback during free flight in Drosophila melanogaster. Journal of Experimental Biology, 206 (5). pp. 843-855. ISSN 0022-0949. doi:10.1242/jeb.00175.

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Adult fruit flies follow attractive odors associated with food and oviposition sites through widely varied visual landscapes. To examine the interaction between olfactory and visual cues during search behavior, we recorded three-dimensional flight trajectories as individuals explored controlled sensory landscapes. When presented with the source of an attractive odor invisibly embedded in the floor of a 1 m arena, flies spend most of their time hovering back and forth over the source when flying within a randomly textured visual background but fail to localize the source when searching within a uniform white surround. To test whether flies are associating unique features of the visual background with the strength of odor cues, we flew them within arenas containing evenly spaced vertical stripes. Flies readily localized the odor when flying within visual landscapes lacking azimuthal landmarks provided that vertical edges were present. Flies failed to localize odor when flying within a background pattern consisting of horizontal stripes. These results suggest that, whereas flies do not require spatially unique visual patterns to localize an odor source, they do require visual feedback generated by vertical edges. Quantitative shifts in several components of flight behavior accompanied successful odor localization. Flies decrease flight altitude, turn more often and approach visually textured walls of the arena near an odor source. A simple model based on the statistics of flight behavior supports the hypothesis that a subtle influence on these behaviors is sufficient to lead a fly to its food.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Dickinson, Michael H.0000-0002-8587-9936
Additional Information:© The Company of Biologists Ltd 2003. Accepted 26 November 2002. The authors wish to thank Jocelyn Staunton and Jessica Choe for their help collecting data used in this study. This work was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (FD97-23424), ONR (FDN00014-99-1-0892), DARPA (N00014-98-1-0855) and The Packard Foundation.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Office of Naval Research (ONR)FDN00014-99-1-0892
Office of Naval Research (ONR)N00014-98-1-0855
David and Lucille Packard FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Drosophila, insect, free flight, olfaction, vision, chemotaxis, optomotor, collision avoidance, flight control
Issue or Number:5
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:FRYjeb03
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:12396
Deposited By: Archive Administrator
Deposited On:24 Nov 2008 18:34
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 22:28

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