Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 187, Issue 5, pp 341–348

Song production in auditory mutants of Drosophila: the role of sensory feedback

  • Eran Tauber
  • Daniel F. Eberl
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s003590100206

Cite this article as:
Tauber, E. & Eberl, D.F. J Comp Physiol A (2001) 187: 341. doi:10.1007/s003590100206


To test the role of sensory feedback in song production, we analyzed the courtship songs of Drosophila males expressing auditory mutations. We compared the courtship songs of atonal (ato), beethoven (btv) and touch-insensitive-larva-B (tilB) to wild-type songs. These mutations have in common the fact that the chordotonal organs are disrupted. Since chordotonal organs subserve both hearing (in the antenna) and proprioception (from the wing), these two potential routes for sensory feedback are defective in the mutant flies. We measured six song characters: pulse number within a train, inter-pulse interval, pulse duration, sine burst duration, the carrier frequency of the sine song and the relative amplitude of the sine song. Using multivariate analysis, we found significant differences between mutant and normal songs. In addition many mutant flies exhibit an unusual wing position during singing. The results indicate that sensory feedback plays an important role in shaping the courtship song of Drosophila.

Sensory feedback Courtship song Chordotonal organs Drosophila melanogaster Auditory mutants

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eran Tauber
    • 1
  • Daniel F. Eberl
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological Sciences, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242-1324, USA
  2. 2.Present address: Department of Genetics, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK