Winging It: Moth Flight Behavior and Responses of Olfactory Neurons Are Shaped by Pheromone Plume Dynamics

Neil J. Vickers
2005 Chemical Senses  
Terrestrial odor plumes have a physical structure that results from turbulence in the fluid environment. The rapidity of insect flight maneuvers within a plume indicates that their responses are dictated by fleeting (<1 s) rather than longer (>1 s) exposures to odor imposed by physical variables that distribute odor molecules in time and space. Even though encounters with pheromone filaments are brief, male moths responding to female-produced pheromones are remarkably able to extract
more » ... extract information relating to the biological properties of these olfactory signals. These properties include the types of molecule present and their relative abundances. Thus, peripheral and central olfactory neurons are capable of representing these biological properties of a pheromone plume within the context of a temporally irregular and unpredictable signal. The mechanisms underlying olfactory processing of these signals with respect to their biological and physical properties are discussed in the context of a behavioral framework.
doi:10.1093/chemse/bjj011 pmid:16339269 fatcat:vgcgubzimjcrreflvezi3pwaba