TitleWings and halteres act as coupled dual-oscillators in flies.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsDeora T, Sane SS, Sane SP
Date Published2021 Nov 16

The mechanics of Dipteran thorax is dictated by a network of exoskeletal linkages which, when deformed by the flight muscles, generate coordinated wing movements. In Diptera, the forewings power flight, whereas the hindwings have evolved into specialized structures called halteres which provide rapid mechanosensory feedback for flight stabilization. Although actuated by independent muscles, wing and haltere motion is precisely phase-coordinated at high frequencies. Because wingbeat frequency is a product of wing-thorax resonance, any wear-and-tear of wings or thorax should impair flight ability. How robust is the Dipteran flight system against such perturbations? Here, we show that wings and halteres are independently-driven, coupled oscillators. We systematically reduced the wing length in flies and observed how wing-haltere synchronization was affected. The wing-wing system is a strongly-coupled oscillator, whereas the wing-haltere system is weakly-coupled through mechanical linkages which synchronize phase and frequency. Wing-haltere link acts in a unidirectional manner; altering wingbeat frequency affects haltere frequency, but not vice-versa. Exoskeletal linkages are thus key morphological features of the Dipteran thorax which ensure wing-haltere synchrony, despite severe wing damage.

Alternate JournalElife
PubMed ID34783648
Grant ListFA2386-11-1-4057 and FA9550-16-1-0155 / / Air Force Office of Scientific Research /