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News Picks : Flies bank like fighter jets to evade attack

By: Charles Day
11 April 2014
BBC: Michael Dickinson of the University of Washington in Seattle and his colleagues have determined that fruit flies can make split-second banking turns when they perceive a threat in the air. The researchers made their discovery, which is published this week in Science, by filming the flies with three high-speed video cameras. When an image of a predator was projected inside the observation cage, the flies were observed to execute banking turns with just 1–2 wing flaps that changed their flight direction at a rate of around 5000°/s. Previous measurements of flies steering themselves toward targets had recorded rates of around 1000°/s, which suggests that flies could have additional sensory-motor circuitry for evading predators.

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