Flies fly by alternating between periods of fixation and body saccades, analogous to how our own eyes move. Gaze fixation via smooth movement in fly flight has been studied extensively, but comparatively less is known about the mechanism by which flies trigger and control body saccades to shift their gaze. Why do flies implement a hybrid fixate-and-saccade locomotion strategy? Here we review recent developments that provide new insights into this question. We focus on the interplay between smooth movement and saccades, the trigger classes of saccades, and the timeline of saccade execution. We emphasize recent mechanistic advances in Drosophila, where genetic tools have enabled cellular circuit analysis at an unprecedented level in a flying insect. In addition, we review trade-offs in behavioral paradigms used to study saccades. Throughout we highlight exciting avenues for future research in the control of fly flight.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Insect Science