, Volume 44, Issue 5, pp 389–395 | Cite as

Mechanisms of flight steering in locusts

  • C. H. F. Rowell


Steering in flight by locusts provides a well-studied example of the modulation of a rhythmic motor output by unpredictable inputs from outside to produce adaptive behaviour, in this case a form of locomotion. The simplest form, correctional steering, allows the animal to compensate for unintentional deviations from course. Its mechanisms are relatively well understood. The central nervous circuitry which makes this behaviour possible can be thought of as an autopilot. The entire process, from sensory input to the aerodynamic effects of changed motor outputs, is here reviewed. Intentional change of course, either spontaneous or induced by a change in the outside world, is more complex: it demands not only active steering, but also the temporary disablement of the autopilot. The mechanisms by which this could be achieved are discussed.

Key words

Flight sensory modulation feature detection interneurons sensorimotor integration locust 


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© Birkhäuser Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. H. F. Rowell
    • 1
  1. 1.Zoologisches InstitutBasel(Switzerland)

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