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J R Soc Interface. 2015 Apr 6;12(105). pii: 20150075. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2015.0075.

Controlling roll perturbations in fruit flies.

Author information

1
Department of Physics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA tsevi.beatus@cornell.edu.
2
Department of Mathematics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.
3
Department of Physics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.

Abstract

Owing to aerodynamic instabilities, stable flapping flight requires ever-present fast corrective actions. Here, we investigate how flies control perturbations along their body roll angle, which is unstable and their most sensitive degree of freedom. We glue a magnet to each fly and apply a short magnetic pulse that rolls it in mid-air. Fast video shows flies correct perturbations up to 100° within 30 ± 7 ms by applying a stroke-amplitude asymmetry that is well described by a linear proportional-integral controller. For more aggressive perturbations, we show evidence for nonlinear and hierarchical control mechanisms. Flies respond to roll perturbations within 5 ms, making this correction reflex one of the fastest in the animal kingdom.

KEYWORDS:

biolocomotion; flight control; fruit fly; insect flight

PMID:
25762650
PMCID:
PMC4387536
DOI:
10.1098/rsif.2015.0075
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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