A Caltech Library Service

The control of wing kinematics by two steering muscles of the blowfly (Calliphora vicina)

Tu, M. S. and Dickinson, M. H. (1996) The control of wing kinematics by two steering muscles of the blowfly (Calliphora vicina). Journal of Comparative Physiology A, 178 (6). pp. 813-830. ISSN 0340-7594. doi:10.1007/BF00225830.

Full text is not posted in this repository. Consult Related URLs below.

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


We used a combination of high speed video and electrophysiological recordings to investigate the relationship between wing kinematics and the firing patterns of the first (b1) and second (b2) basalar muscles of tethered flying blowflies (Calliphora vicina). The b1 typically fires once during every wing stroke near the time of the dorsal stroke reversal. The b2 fires either intermittently or in bursts that may be elicited by a visual turning stimulus. Sustained activation of the b1 at rates near wing beat frequency appears necessary for the tonic maintenance of stroke amplitude. In addition, advances in the phase of b1 activation were correlated with both increased wing protraction during the down-stroke and increased stroke amplitude. Similar kinematic alterations were correlated with b2 spikes, and consequently, both muscles may function in the control of turns toward the contralateral side. The effects of the two muscles were evident within a single stroke period and decayed quickly. Kinematic changes correlated with b1 phase shifts were graded, suggesting a role in compensatory course stabilization. In contrast, b2 spikes were correlated with all-or-none changes in the wing stroke, a characteristic consistent with a role in mediating rapid turns towards or away from objects.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Dickinson, M. H.0000-0002-8587-9936
Additional Information:© 1996 Springer-Verlag. Accepted: 22 November 1995.
Subject Keywords:Kinematics; Insect flight; Motor control; Diptera; Muscle
Issue or Number:6
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20181116-091112744
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Tu, M.S. & Dickinson, M.H. J Comp Physiol A (1996) 178: 813.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:90951
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:16 Nov 2018 19:24
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 03:37

Repository Staff Only: item control page