Insects need visual feedback from their surroundings in order to fly upwind to an odor source. This feedback allows the insect to determine which way the wind is blowing, and then wind-steering behavior (anemotaxis) guides the insect to the source. Yellow-eyed mutant cabbage loopers, Trichoplusia ni, isolated from a laboratory colony were unable to fly upwind to a synthetic pheromone source in a wind tunnel. However, they were able to walk to the source, when a bridge at plume height was present. Apparently, the yellow-eyed mutants could not see the ground pattern, and thus could not determine wind direction in flight. When they were able to maintain ground contact, however, mechanosensory feedback allowed them to determine wind direction, and thus walk to the pheromone source. In nature, selection would eliminate yellow-eyed cabbage loopers because optomotor anemotaxis is essential for mate location.
Species 1: Lepidoptera Noctuidae Trichoplusia ni (Cabbage looper)
Keywords: anemotaxis, pheromone
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