Retinal slip compensation of pitch-constrained blue bottle flies flying in a flight mill

Shih Jung Hsu, Bo Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the presence of wind or background image motion, flies are able to maintain a constant retinal slip velocity by regulating flight speed to the extent permitted by their locomotor capacity. Here we investigated the retinal slip compensation of tethered blue bottle flies (Calliphora vomitoria) flying semi-freely along an annular corridor in a magnetically levitated flight mill enclosed by two motorized cylindrical walls. We perturbed the flies' retinal slip by spinning the cylindrical walls, generating bilaterally averaged retinal slip perturbations from -0.3 to 0.3 m s-1 (or -116.4 to 116.4 deg s-1 ). When the perturbation was less than ∼0.1 m s-1 (38.4 deg s-1 ), the flies successfully compensated the perturbations and maintained a retinal slip velocity by adjusting their airspeed up to 20%. However, with greater retinal slip perturbation, the flies' compensation became saturated as their airspeed plateaued, indicating that they were unable to further maintain a constant retinal slip velocity. The compensation gain, i.e. the ratio of airspeed compensation and retinal slip perturbation, depended on the spatial frequency of the grating patterns, being the largest at 12 m-1 (0.04 deg-1 ).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberjeb210104
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


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