Continuous lateral oscillations as a core mechanism for taxis in Drosophila larvae

Antoine Wystrach, Konstantinos Lagogiannis, Barbara Webb, K VijayRaghavan (Editor)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Taxis behaviour in Drosophila larva is thought to consist of distinct control mechanisms triggering specific actions. Here we support a simpler hypothesis: that taxis results from direct sensory modulation of continuous lateral oscillations of the anterior body, sparing the need for 'action selection'. Our analysis of larvae motion reveals a rhythmic, continuous lateral oscillation of the anterior body, encompassing all head-sweeps, small or large, without breaking the oscillatory rhythm. Further, we show that an agent-model that embeds this hypothesis reproduces a surprising number of taxis signatures observed in larvae. Also, by coupling the sensory input to a neural oscillator in continuous time, we show that the mechanism is robust and biologically plausible. The mechanism provides a simple architecture for combining information across modalities, and explaining how learnt associations modulate taxis. We discuss the results in the light of larval neural circuitry and make testable predictions.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere15504
Number of pages58
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2016


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