Tracking and chasing in houseflies (Musca) - An analysis of 3-D flight trajectories

Christian Wehrhahn, Tomaso Poggio, Heinrich Bülthoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Citations (Scopus)


The flight trajectories of free flying female and male houseflies have been analyzed in 3 dimensions. Both female and male flies track other flies. The turning velocity α (around the vertical axis) is linearly dependent upon the horizontal angle ψF (that is the angle between the trajectory of the tracking fly and the target) for small values of ψF in females and for the whole range of ψF in males. The 3-dimensional velocity υxyz of the chasing fly is linearly dependent upon the distance between leading and chasing fly in males but not in females. Male chasing thus appears to be more efficient than female tracking. It is shown that earlier assumptions on visual control of flight in female flies derived from experiments on fixed flying flies are justified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-130
Number of pages8
JournalBiological Cybernetics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1982 Sep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Computer Science(all)


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