Meeting Abstract

52.3  Thursday, Jan. 5  Flight control sensorimotor response in the hawk moth Hyles lineata WINDSOR, S.P.*; BOMPHREY, R.J.; TAYLOR, G.K.; Univ. of Oxford; Univ. of Oxford; Univ. of Oxford

The functional properties of the flight control system of an insect can be explored experimentally by measuring how the insect responds to a range of sensory perturbations. Using a custom built virtual reality flight simulator we measured the flight forces and moments produced by tethered white-lined sphinx hawk moths (Hyles lineata) in response to moving wide field visual stimuli. Each moth’s response to a sinusoidal grating oscillating over a range of frequencies around three axes was recorded. When perturbed in roll the moths responded so as to stabilize the position of the stimuli; whereas in pitch and yaw the moths stabilized a combination of the position and velocity of the stimulus. These responses could be explained by the relative flight stability of the moth in different axes and suggest possible structures and limitations for the architecture of the moth’s sensorimotor flight control system.