Submitted to: Current Biology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/14/2008
Publication Date: 4/8/2008
Citation: Cole, G., Kuenen, L.P. 2008. Multimodal integration: Visual cues helps odor-seeking fruit flies. Current Biology. 18(7):295-297.
Interpretive Summary: Recent studies have shown that for flying insects to move toward an attractive odor source, they must use the combined senses of smell, vision and tactile cues. Vinegar flies (Drosophila) also use these senses turning narrowly about the upwind axis and widely across the wind line if they lose contact with the odor plume. However they do not exhibit normal turning responses into the odor laden wind unless their visual surrounds have adequate/enough visual information. This work sets the stage for a systematic investigation of the role of visual cues in the upwind orientation process. This may also impact the design of insect traps to visually guide more insects into a trap similar to the UV reflective patterns used by flowers to guide bees to their nectaries.
Technical Abstract: Recent studies have shown that integration of sensory modalities is critical to the process of odor-source location. Attractive food odors initiate flies’ response to visual cues to maintain narrow angle turns with respect to the wind line; loss of odor contact due to idiothetic motion or experimentally induced, leads to high angular velocity turns that are analogous to cross wind casting exhibited by moths and beetles when they have a protracted loss of sex pheromone plume contact. In a visually neutral environment the flies do not exhibit these responses.