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Memotaxis: A common orientation strategy in landmark approach and temperature gradient orientation

Makarov , Valeri A. and Berg, Christian and Villacorta-Atienza, José Antonio and Velarde, Manuel G. and Arena, Paolo and Patane, Luca and Termini, Pietro Savio and Strauss, Roland (2010) Memotaxis: A common orientation strategy in landmark approach and temperature gradient orientation. Journal of Neurogenetics , 24 . p. 23. ISSN 0167-7063

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Proper orientation is one of the most important skills in
the repertoire of an organism. Many different strategies
are used in the animal kingdom to fi nd resources like food,
nesting sites, a comfortable environment, or mating partners.
Optimizing the ability of fi nding places of interest
surely has a great impact on the fi tness of the organism. A
way to optimize orientation is analyzed here, shown representatively
in visual object approach and in temperature
gradient orientation of fruit fl ies. This orientation strategy
is called “memotaxis”. It benefi ts from the integration of
past events, leading to a robust path towards the desired
goal. Although memotaxis is perfectly suited for noisy
environments, its existence is conveniently proven in situations
with low noise. In landmark approach experiments,
fruit fl ies show that the longer they approach a particular
target, the longer it takes for them to abandon it after its
disappearance. This holds true even in the presence of a
distracting landmark that comes on only after disappearance
of the fi rst-visited target. The strategy was found again
in temperature orientation, in which fl ies are over-running
a temperature optimum: distances travelled after crossing
the optimum scale with the distances walked towards the
optimum. Memotaxis is assumed to exist in many animals,
but the genetic tools available in Drosophila melanogaster
allow localizing the relevant brain centers and pathways.
Memotaxis as an orientation strategy proves useful also
for autonomously roving robots.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Genetics & Heredity; Neurosciences
Subjects:Medical sciences > Biology > Neurosciences
ID Code:16709
Deposited On:15 Oct 2012 08:33
Last Modified:15 Oct 2012 08:33

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