Vision and air flow combine to streamline flying honeybees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Insects face the challenge of integrating multi-sensory information to control their flight. Here we study a 'streamlining' response in honeybees, whereby honeybees raise their abdomen to reduce drag. We find that this response, which was recently reported to be mediated by optic flow, is also strongly modulated by the presence of air flow simulating a head wind. The Johnston's organs in the antennae were found to play a role in the measurement of the air speed that is used to control the streamlining response. The response to a combination of visual motion and wind is complex and can be explained by a model that incorporates a non-linear combination of the two stimuli. The use of visual and mechanosensory cues increases the strength of the streamlining response when the stimuli are present concurrently. We propose this multisensory integration will make the response more robust to transient disturbances in either modality.


  • Gavin Taylor
  • Tien Luu
  • David Ball
  • Mandyam V Srinivasan
External organisations
  • University of Queensland
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Biological Sciences
Original languageEnglish
JournalScientific Reports
Issue numberArticle Number: 2614
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch