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J Comp Physiol A. 1995 Mar;176(3):355-64.

Flight initiations in Drosophila melanogaster are mediated by several distinct motor patterns.

Author information

1
Section of Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-2702.

Abstract

We have monitored the patterns of activation of five muscles during flight initiation of Drosophila melanogaster: the tergotrochanteral muscle (a mesothoracic leg extensor), dorsal longitudinal muscles #3, #4 and #6 (wing depressors), and dorsal ventral muscle #Ic (a wing elevator). Stimulation of a pair of large descending interneurons, the giant fibers, activates these muscles in a stereotypic pattern and is thought to evoke escape flight initiation. To investigate the role of the giant fibers in coordinating flight initiation, we have compared the patterns of muscle activation evoked by giant fiber stimulation with those during flight initiations executed voluntarily and evoked by visual and olfactory stimuli. Visually elicited flight initiations exhibit patterns of muscle activation indistinguishable from those evoked by giant fiber stimulation. Olfactory-induced flight initiations exhibit patterns of muscle activation similar to those during voluntary flight initiations. Yet only some benzaldehyde-induced and voluntary flight initiations exhibit patterns of muscle activation similar to those evoked by giant fiber stimulation. These results indicate that visually elicited flight initiations are coordinated by the giant fiber circuit. By contrast, the giant fiber circuit alone cannot account for the patterns of muscle activation observed during the majority of olfactory-induced and voluntary flight initiations.

PMID:
7707271
DOI:
10.1007/bf00219061
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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