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Flight Performance and Visual Control of Flight of the Free-Flying Housefly (Musca Domestica L.) II. Pursuit of Targets

Wagner, H. (1986) Flight Performance and Visual Control of Flight of the Free-Flying Housefly (Musca Domestica L.) II. Pursuit of Targets. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, 312 (1158). pp. 553-579. ISSN 0962-8436. http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20150126-120925700

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Abstract

The pursuit behaviour of houseflies has been analysed by the evaluation of movie films. On the floor, males, but not females, turn towards passing targets. Males as well as females pursue targets in the air. Male chasing seems to be functionally different from female tracking. Males attack targets in the air from below. They sometimes retract from the target fly after an approach. Thus, a chase may be divided into attacks, periods of pursuit and retreats. Males catch females, but not other males. The pursuer is therefore able to discriminate between the sexes. Close approach or contact with the target fly seems to be necessary to obtain the information. During pursuit both sexes increase the rate of turning. The male but not the female target fly performs evasive translatory reactions to the attacks (figure 4). Females do not catch other flies. They often react with a single turn in the direction of a passing object. They seldom follow the target, which is then normally positioned below the tracking fly. The rotations about the vertical and transverse axis (yaw and pitch) are visually controlled in both sexes. The horizontal and vertical error angle, as well as the horizontal and vertical retinal target velocity, influence the turning behaviour. At least in males, further, hitherto unknown, cues seem to be additionally involved in the control of the rotatory movements. The male control systems operate more precisely than those of the females. Rotations are characterized by steplike changes in angular orientation (`turns') at high angular velocity. Smooth rotations at angular velocities less than about 200 deg s^(-1) seem not to play any role either in males or in females. `Sideways' tracking, most probably mediated by rolling about the long axis, occurred in a single sequence only. A correlation between the translation velocity and the distance between pursuer and target is observed in the pursuit sequences of both sexes. This correlation is interpreted as a by-product of the organization of the flight motor. Therefore, neither males nor females control the translation velocity by the distance to the target. The discussion concentrates on the problems in characterizing the control systems and a comparison with data from optical and electrophysiological measurements. The behavioural differences between hoverflies and houseflies are attributed to the different flight motors.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.1986.0018DOIArticle
http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/312/1158/553PublisherArticle
http://www.jstor.org/stable/2396343JSTORArticle
Additional Information:© 1986 The Royal Society. Received 21 January 1985. Professor Reichardt made it possible for me to do this work. I am deeply indebted to him and to my colleagues M. Egelhaaf, K. Hausen, C. Wehrhahn, J. Zanker and J. Zeil who critically read the manuscript. L. Heimburger and J. Geiss are thanked for skilful preparation of the figures and the help with typing the manuscript. J. Emmerton kindly corrected my English.
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150126-120925700
Persistent URL:http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20150126-120925700
Official Citation:Wagner, H. (1986). Flight Performance and Visual Control of Flight of the Free-Flying Housefly (Musca Domestica L.) II. Pursuit of Targets. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, 312(1158), 553-579. doi: 10.2307/2396343
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:54083
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Joanne McCole
Deposited On:26 Jan 2015 21:41
Last Modified:26 Jan 2015 21:41

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