A syntax of hoverfly flight prototypes

Geurten B, Kern R, Braun E, Egelhaaf M (2010)
Journal of Experimental Biology 213(14): 2461-2475.

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Abstract / Notes
Hoverflies such as Eristalis tenax Linnaeus are known for their distinctive flight style. They can hover on the same spot for several seconds and then burst into movement in apparently any possible direction. In order to determine a quantitative and structured description of complex flight manoeuvres, we searched for a set of repeatedly occurring prototypical movements (PMs) and a set of rules for their ordering. PMs were identified by applying clustering algorithms to the translational and rotational velocities of the body of Eristalis during free-flight sequences. This approach led to nine stable and reliable PMs, and thus provided a tremendous reduction in the complexity of behavioural description. This set of PMs together with the probabilities of transition between them constitute a syntactical description of flight behaviour. The PMs themselves can be roughly segregated into fast rotational turns (saccades) and a variety of distinct translational movements (intersaccadic intervals). We interpret this segregation as reflecting an active sensing strategy which facilitates the extraction of spatial information from retinal image displacements. Detailed analysis of saccades shows that they are performed around all rotational axes individually and in all possible combinations. We found the probability of occurrence of a given saccade type to depend on parameters such as the angle between the long body axis and the direction of flight.
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Geurten B, Kern R, Braun E, Egelhaaf M. A syntax of hoverfly flight prototypes. Journal of Experimental Biology. 2010;213(14):2461-2475.
Geurten, B., Kern, R., Braun, E., & Egelhaaf, M. (2010). A syntax of hoverfly flight prototypes. Journal of Experimental Biology, 213(14), 2461-2475. doi:10.1242/jeb.036079
Geurten, B., Kern, R., Braun, E., and Egelhaaf, M. (2010). A syntax of hoverfly flight prototypes. Journal of Experimental Biology 213, 2461-2475.
Geurten, B., et al., 2010. A syntax of hoverfly flight prototypes. Journal of Experimental Biology, 213(14), p 2461-2475.
B. Geurten, et al., “A syntax of hoverfly flight prototypes”, Journal of Experimental Biology, vol. 213, 2010, pp. 2461-2475.
Geurten, B., Kern, R., Braun, E., Egelhaaf, M.: A syntax of hoverfly flight prototypes. Journal of Experimental Biology. 213, 2461-2475 (2010).
Geurten, Bart, Kern, Roland, Braun, Elke, and Egelhaaf, Martin. “A syntax of hoverfly flight prototypes”. Journal of Experimental Biology 213.14 (2010): 2461-2475.
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