Science2014-06-10 6:04 PM

当危险来临时,苍蝇为何能够飞的这样快 Flies Evade Looming Targets by Executing Rapid Visually Directed Banked Turns

论文摘要 

任何曾经拍打过苍蝇的人都知道这些小小的空中昆虫飞行速度之快会是多么地令人感到沮丧。如今,一项新的研究揭示了黑腹果蝇——或普通果蝇——是如何能够完成这种即刻的逃避飞行动作的,而该果蝇所用的方法并非是研究人员所想像的。

Florian Muijres及其同事用高速摄影机及有翅膀的机器人展示了果蝇类可以对接近它们的威胁做出快速反应并倾斜着转弯飞行,这些转弯只需快速地拍打几下翼翅就能被启动。

据研究人员披露,这些果蝇并非像飞机一样用其尾舵做出小幅航道修正那样围着其偏航轴旋转,而是会同时纵横摇动其身体而快速逃跑。这样的移动意味着这些果蝇会先向某个方向旋转其身体并接着进行反向旋转,这些动作需要有效的转矩和反转矩。他们说,但是这些倾斜“逃跑”飞行动作的发生比果蝇正常的飞行中的转向要快大约5倍。

Muijres及其团队从92个不同果蝇的飞行逃逸中捕捉到了3566个具体的翼翅拍打细节,并为了得出他们的结论,他们接着用小型、会振翅拍打的机器人来重新创建它们中的许多飞行逃逸。基于他们的发现,研究人员提出,果蝇可能依赖于一组特别的感觉-运动回路来帮助它们在几分之一秒钟内对威胁做出反应。

Abstract 

Avoiding predators is an essential behavior in which animals must quickly transform sensory cues into evasive actions. Sensory reflexes are particularly fast in flying insects such as flies, but the means by which they evade aerial predators is not known. Using high-speed videography and automated tracking of flies in combination with aerodynamic measurements on flapping robots, we show that flying flies react to looming stimuli with directed banked turns. The maneuver consists of a rapid body rotation followed immediately by an active counter-rotation and is enacted by remarkably subtle changes in wing motion. These evasive maneuvers of flies are substantially faster than steering maneuvers measured previously and indicate the existence of sensory-motor circuitry that can reorient the fly’s flight path within a few wingbeats.

Editor's Summary

Taking Flight

Anyone who has tried to swat a fly knows that their powers of avoidance are impressive. Executing such rapid avoidance requires that the sensory recognition of an approaching threat be translated into evasive movement almost instantaneously. Muijres et al. (p. 172) used high-speed videos and winged robots to show that flies respond to approaching threats by making rapid banked turns initiated through subtle wing changes over just a few wing beats. The rapid nature of the turns suggests the existence of dedicated sensory-motor circuits that allow the flies to respond within a fraction of a second.

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