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J Comp Physiol A. 1991 Oct;169(4):427-40.

Odor-modulated upwind flight of the sphinx moth, Manduca sexta L.

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Arizona Research Laboratories, University of Arizona, Tucson.


1. Male and female Manduca sexta flew upwind in response to the odor of female sex-pheromone gland extract or fresh tobacco leaf respectively, and generated very similar zigzagging tracks along the odor plume. 2. After loss of odor during flight, males and females alike: (1) first flew slower and steered their flight more across the wind, then (2) stopped moving upwind, and finally (3) regressed downwind. 3. Males flying upwind in a pheromone plume in wind of different velocities maintained their ground speed near a relatively constant 'preferred' value by increasing their air speed as the velocity of the wind increased, and also maintained the average angle of their resultant flight tracks with respect to the wind at a preferred value by steering a course more precisely due upwind. 4. The inter-turn duration and turn rate, two measures of the temporal aspects of the flight track, were maintained, on average, with remarkable consistency across all wind velocities and in both sexes. The inter-turn durations also decreased significantly as moths approached the odor source, suggesting modulation of the temporal pattern of turning by some feature of the odor plume. This temporal regularity of turning appears to be one of the most stereotyped features of odor-modulated flight in M. sexta.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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