Weighted cue integration for straight-line orientation

Shahrzad Shaverdian, Elin Dirlik, Robert Mitchell, Claudia Tocco, Barbara Webb, Marie Dacke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Animals commonly integrate multiple sources of information to guide their behavior. Among insects, previous studies have suggested that the relative reliability of cues affects their weighting in behavior, but have not systematically explored how well alternative integration strategies can account for the observed directional choices. Here, we characterize the directional reliability of an ersatz sun at different elevations and wind at different speeds as guiding cues for a species of ball-rolling dung beetle. The relative reliability is then shown to determine which cue dominates when the cues are put in conflict. We further show through modeling that the results are best explained by continuous integration of the cues as a vector-sum (rather than switching between them) but with non-optimal weighting and small individual biases. The neural circuitry in the insect central complex appears to provide an ideal substrate for this type of vector-sum-based integration mechanism.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105207
Number of pages27
Issue number10
Early online date30 Sep 2022
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2022


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