TitleTuneable reflexes control antennal positioning in flying hawkmoths.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsNatesan D, Saxena N, Ekeberg Ö, Sane SP
JournalNat Commun
Date Published2019 Dec 06

Complex behaviours may be viewed as sequences of modular actions, each elicited by specific sensory cues in their characteristic timescales. From this perspective, we can construct models in which unitary behavioural modules are hierarchically placed in context of related actions. Here, we analyse antennal positioning reflex in hawkmoths as a tuneable behavioural unit. Mechanosensory feedback from two antennal structures, Böhm's bristles (BB) and Johnston's organs (JO), determines antennal position. At flight onset, antennae attain a specific position, which is maintained by feedback from BB. Simultaneously, JO senses deflections in flagellum-pedicel joint due to frontal airflow, to modulate its steady-state position. Restricting JO abolishes positional modulation but maintains stability against perturbations. Linear feedback models are sufficient to predict antennal dynamics at various set-points. We modelled antennal positioning as a hierarchical neural-circuit in which fast BB feedback maintains instantaneous set-point, but slow JO feedback modulates it, thereby elucidating mechanisms underlying its robustness and flexibility.

Alternate JournalNat Commun
PubMed ID31811150
Grant ListFA2386-11-1-4057 / / United States Department of Defense | United States Air Force | AFMC | Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AF Office of Scientific Research) /