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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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Abstract

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 find resources like food, nesting sites, a comfortable environment, or mating partners. Optimizing the ability of finding places of interest surely has a great impact on the fitness of the organism. A way to optimize orientation is analyzed here, shown representatively in visual object approach and in temperature gradient orientation of fruit flies. This orientation strategy is called “memotaxis”. It benefits 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 flies 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 first-visited target. The strategy was found again in temperature orientation, in which flies 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:12 Jun 2014 07:21

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