How fruit flies' antennae help them 'cruise' through wind revealed
Scientists have found the mechanism used by fruit flies to regulate their flight speed from their antennae by using both vision and wind-sensing information.
The researchers traced the flies' flight trajectories in a wind tunnel and found that the wind-sensing antennae stabilize the fly's visual flight controller.
The results showed that in gusts, air drag causes part of the deceleration, but in addition, antennae sense airspeed changes and induce a response that causes the fly to decelerate even further.
The researchers found that the flies accelerated when the wind was pushing them from behind and decelerated when flying into a headwind and eventually recovered to maintain their original groundspeed.
The study published online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
(Posted on 11-04-2014)