Drosophila larvae are capable of a wide array of simple, quantifiable behavioral responses to stimuli, which makes the organism a useful tool for deconstructing biotic behavior for wider application. To this end, an understanding of the response to mechanical stimulation remains relatively unexplored in this organism, and warrants investigation. This research aims to map the fruit fly’s behavior as a function of a generalized mechanical stimulus, namely, vibration.
Fruit fly larvae are placed in a light and temperature controlled environment, and observed crawling on vibrating agar plates with CCD cameras controlled through LabVIEW. Larvae are monitored for their instantaneous speed, turn rate, stop rate, head swings, and change of direction over a fixed period of time; and such behavioral metrics are then analyzed and compared with those of other experiments under different stimulus conditions in MATLAB.
Preliminary results suggest a distinct response as a function of increasing vibrational frequency which peaks at 200 Hz, as well as a continued positive correlation between response and increasing vibrational acceleration/force. Consequently, the objectives of this research are threefold: to delineate the response of the Drosophila larvae relative to frequency, to examine whether or not increasing acceleration elicits a corresponding increasing response, and to determine whether or not acceleration and frequency exhibit an additive response in combination. Results should yield insight as to the wider behavioral profile of the fruit fly, and allow for further research into the underlying neurological mechanisms which account for its predicated behavior in the presence of a mechanical stimulus in general.
Berne, Alexander, "Vibration Response: Mapping the Behavioral Response of Fruit Fly Larvae to Mechanical Stimuli" (2018). 2018 Entries. 4.