Responses of a pair of flying locusts to lateral looming visual stimuli
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We presented a pair of locusts flying loosely tethered with laterally looming discs. Two experiments tested whether looming-evoked flight behaviour was affected by the presence (1) or relative position (2) of a conspecific. We recorded: the type of behavioural response, motion within 6 degrees of freedom, behavioural onset time and duration, distance between individuals and relative direction of motion. Response distributions of the locust furthest from the stimulus (L1) were not affected by the presence or relative position of a conspecific, whereas distributions of the closer locust (L2) were affected by its position relative to the stimulus. Motion tracks of L1 were affected by the presence of L2, which generated relatively robust responses directed forward and away from the stimulus. Translational and rotational motion of L1 differed across treatments in both experiments, whereas L2 motion was less sensitive to the presence or position of a conspecific. The start and duration of the behaviour were invariant to the presence or position of a conspecific and locust pairs maintained a fixed distance during responses to looming. Results suggest that looming-evoked behaviour is influenced by visual cues from a conspecific in the vicinity.
KeywordsInsect Flight Collision avoidance Vision Locust
Funding provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and the University of Saskatchewan.
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