Visual input to the efferent control system of a fly's "gyroscope".

  title={Visual input to the efferent control system of a fly's "gyroscope".},
  author={Wai Pang Chan and Frederick R. Prete and Michael H. Dickinson},
  volume={280 5361},
Dipterous insects (the true flies) have a sophisticated pair of equilibrium organs called halteres that evolved from hind wings. The halteres are sensitive to Coriolis forces that result from angular rotations of the body and mediate corrective reflexes during flight. Like the aerodynamically functional fore wings, the halteres beat during flight and are equipped with their own set of control muscles. It is shown that motoneurons innervating muscles of the haltere receive strong excitatory… 

A comparison of visual and haltere-mediated equilibrium reflexes in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster

The results show that the visual system is tuned to relatively slow rotation whereas the haltere-mediated response to mechanical rotation increases with rising angular velocity, which may enhance aerodynamic performance by enabling the fly to sense a wide range of angular velocities during flight.

Haltere and visual inputs sum linearly to predict wing (but not gaze) motor output in tethered flying Drosophila

This work introduces an experimental paradigm for reproducibly altering haltere stroke kinematics and uses it to quantify multisensory integration of wing and gaze equilibrium reflexes, and shows that multisENSory wing-steering responses reflect a linear superposition of haltere-driven and visually driven responses, but that mult isensory gaze responses are not well predicted by this framework.

Summation of visual and mechanosensory feedback in Drosophila flight control

This work presents tethered flies with simultaneous visual and mechanosensory oscillations while measuring compensatory changes in stroke kinematics and shows that over a wide range of experimental conditions sensory inputs from halteres and the visual system are combined in a weighted sum.

Closing the loop between neurobiology and flight behavior in Drosophila

Haltere-mediated equilibrium reflexes of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster.

  • M. Dickinson
  • Biology
    Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences
  • 1999
The results indicate that flies possess a robust equilibrium reflex in which angular rotations of the body elicit compensatory changes in both the amplitude and stroke frequency of the wings.

Elements of feed-forward and feedback control in Drosophila body saccades

There is preliminary evidence suggesting that the haltere strokes may be actively modulated during flight, and this suggests that the halteres may be involved in saccade initiation, although the precise mechanisms are not clear.

Inertial Guidance Systems in Insects: From the Neurobiology to the Structural Mechanics of Biological Gyroscopes

This work focuses on past and ongoing research to understand how the physical and physiological aspects of these inertial guidance units interact to determine their functional performance.

Timing precision in fly flight control: integrating mechanosensory input with muscle physiology

The halteres have been long known to provide essential input to the wing steering system as gyroscopic sensors, and recent evidence suggests that the feedback from these vestigial hindwings is under active control, suggesting flies may accomplish manoeuvres through a conserved hindwing circuit.

Proprioceptive feedback determines visuomotor gain in Drosophila

This work investigates visual steering performance of tethered flying fruit flies with reduced haltere and wing feedback signalling and outlines a potential physiological mechanism based on the biomechanical properties of wing steering muscles and sensory integration processes at the level of motoneurons.



Haltere Afferents Provide Direct, Electrotonic Input to a Steering Motor Neuron in the Blowfly, Calliphora

Using intracellular recording and mechanical stimulation, one identified haltere campaniform field (dF2) is found that provides strong synaptic input to the mnb1 that may be responsible in part for the phase-locked firing of b1 during flight.

Biological Sciences: Halteres of Flies as Gyroscopic Organs of Equilibrium

During flight the halteres are vibrated rapidly through an arc of about 90° in the vertical plane with a frequency which is almost certainly identical with that of the wing beat.

Course correction circuitry translates feature detection into behavioural action in locusts

Three additional pairs of descending deviation detector neurones are characterized and it is shown how their information is translated into altered drive to the flight motoneurones.

Position‐specific central projections of mechanosensory neurons on the haltere of the blow fly, Calliphora vicina

It is shown here that in the blow fly, Calliphora vicina, sensory afferents from the campaniform fields project to the thorax in a region‐specific manner, providing the anatomical basis for studying how mechanosensory information encoded by the complex fields on the base of the haltere is mapped onto different functional regions within the CNS.

The control of wing kinematics and flight forces in fruit flies (Drosophila spp.).

  • Lehmann
  • Biology
    The Journal of experimental biology
  • 1998
The subtle changes in kinematics and force production within individual flight sequences demonstrate that flies possess a flexible control system for flight maneuvers in which they can independently control the stroke amplitude, stroke frequency and force coefficient of their wings.

The locust tegula: significance for flight rhythm generation, wing movement control and aerodynamic force production

It is concluded that the tegula of the locust hindwing signals to the nervous system the impending completion of theWing downstroke and allows initiation of the upstroke movement immediately after the wings have reached the lower reversal point of the wingstroke.

Compensatory head roll in the blowfly Calliphora during flight

Video records were made of the blowfly Calliphora erythrocephala L. mainly during tethered flight in a wind-tunnel, to study its movements about the longitudinal body axis (roll), and the limits of fly vision and the advantages of compensatory head movements for different visually guided behaviour are discussed.

Numbers and Contraction-Values of Individual Motor-Units Examined in some Muscles of the Limb

“The muscle with its nerve may be thought of as an additive assemblage of motor-units, meaning by motor-unit an individual motor nerve-fibre with the bunch” [or “squad” (E. L. Porter, 1929 (1))]“ of