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J Insect Physiol. 2002 Feb;48(2):189-196.

Acoustic sensitivity of fly antennae.

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Laboratory of Bioacoustics, Institute for Zoology, University of Zürich, Winterthurerstr. 190, CH 8057, Zurich, Switzerland


The vast majority of higher flies - the brachycerans - is endowed with strikingly similar antennal morphologies and elaborate antennal mechanosensory organs. Thus far, however, the function of audition has been attributed only to the antennae of Drosophilid and Tephritid flies. Antennal mechanical sensitivity to sound is now documented in a broad range of fly species. These results highlight the wide occurrence of audition in as many as 120,000 species of higher Diptera. Antenna-based audition, as defined by the capacity of sensing the mechanical vibrations of the antenna in response to sound, thus appears to constitute an ubiquitous sensory capacity among higher flies. Functionally, antennal hearing can be used in the contexts of intraspecific acoustic signalling, flight control, and putatively close-range echolocation.

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