September 2017
Volume 17, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2017
Color vision for flight control in Drosophila
Author Affiliations
  • Kit Longden
    HHMI Janelia Research Campus, 19700 Helix Drive, Ashburn, VA 20147, USA
  • Michael Reiser
    HHMI Janelia Research Campus, 19700 Helix Drive, Ashburn, VA 20147, USA
Journal of Vision August 2017, Vol.17, 395. doi:
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      Kit Longden, Michael Reiser; Color vision for flight control in Drosophila. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):395.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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The circuitry of color vision in Drosophila is a classic system for understanding the development of neural circuitry and is among the best described for any animal. Flies can learn to discriminate different wavelengths of light, but it is not known what they use color vision for in spontaneous behavior. We have explored how the processing of the wavelength of light contributes to three different kinds of flight behavior. To do this, we developed a novel ultraviolet and green projector system to display wide-field visual stimuli. We measured the flight control responses of tethered flies by optically recording changes in wing stroke amplitude. First, flies can stabilize the horizon even when the intensities of the different wavelengths are matched so that they provide no luminance contrast. This is achieved by combining wavelength-sensitive phototaxis and color-blind motion vision to stabilize the scene. Second, during looms the steering responses are color-blind, but the wing beat frequency varies with the intensity of ultraviolet light. Third, during flight towards an attractive object, a single vertical stripe, the responses are color blind. Taken together, our results show how the wavelength of light can influence multiple aspects of flight attitude and control, and allow the operation of color vision circuitry to be investigated in the context of natural behaviors.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017


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