TitleSmall-amplitude head oscillations result from a multimodal head stabilization reflex in hawkmoths.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsChatterjee P, Mohan U, Sane SP
JournalBiol Lett
Date Published2022 Nov
KeywordsAnimals, Arthropod Antennae, Flight, Animal, Head, Manduca, Moths, Reflex

In flying insects, head stabilization is an essential reflex that helps to reduce motion blur during fast aerial manoeuvres. This reflex is multimodal and requires the integration of visual and antennal mechanosensory feedback in hawkmoths, each operating as a negative-feedback-control loop. As in any negative-feedback system, the head stabilization system possesses inherent oscillatory dynamics that depend on the rate at which the sensorimotor components of the reflex operate. Consistent with this expectation, we observed small-amplitude oscillations in the head motion (or head wobble) of the oleander hawkmoth, which are accentuated when sensory feedback is aberrant. Here, we show that these oscillations emerge from the inherent dynamics of the multimodal reflex underlying gaze stabilization, and that the amplitude of head wobble is a function of both the visual feedback and antennal mechanosensory feedback from the Johnston's organs. Our data support the hypothesis that head wobble results from a multimodal, dynamically stabilized reflex loop that mediates head positioning.

Alternate JournalBiol Lett
PubMed ID36349580