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Motor output reflects the linear superposition of visual and olfactory inputs in Drosophila
Mark A. Frye, Michael H. Dickinson


Animals actively seeking food and oviposition sites must integrate feedback from multiple sensory modalities. Here, we examine visual and olfactory sensorimotor interactions in Drosophila. In a tethered-flight simulator, flies modulate wingbeat frequency and amplitude in response to visual and olfactory stimuli. Responses to both cues presented simultaneously are nearly identical to the sum of responses to stimuli presented in isolation for the onset and duration of odor delivery, suggesting independent sensorimotor pathways. Visual feedback does, however, alter the time course of the odor-off response. Based on the physiology of the flight motor system and recent free-flight analyses, we present a hypothetical model to account for the summation or superposition of sensorimotor responses during flight.

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