Biological Cybernetics

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 91–99 | Cite as

Is the landing response of the housefly (Musca) driven by motion of a flow field?

  • Christian Wehrhahn
  • Klaus Hausen
  • Johannes Zanker


The landing response of tethered flying housefliesMusca domestica elicited by motion of periodic gratings is analysed. The field of view of the compound eyes of a fly can be subdivided into a region of binocular overlap and a monocular region. In the monocular region the landing response is elicited by motion from front to back and suppressed by motion from back to front. The sensitivity to front to back motion in monocular flies (one eye covered with black paint) has a maximum at an angle 60°–80° laterally from the direction of flight in the equatorial plane. The maximum of the landing response to front to back motion as a function of the contrast frequencyw/λ is observed at around 8 Hz. In the region of binocular overlap of monocular flies the landing response can be elicited by back to front motion around the equatorial plane if a laterally positioned pattern is simulataneously moved from front to back. 40° above the equatorial plane in the binocular region the landing response in binocular flies is elicited by upward motion, 40° below the equatorial plane in the binocular region it is elicited by downward motion. The results are interpreted as an adaptation of the visual system of the fly to the perception of a flow field having its pole in the direction of flight.


Flow Field Visual System Equatorial Plane Upward Motion Downward Motion 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Wehrhahn
    • 1
  • Klaus Hausen
    • 1
  • Johannes Zanker
    • 1
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für biologische KybernetikTübingenFRG

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