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1 June 2011 faster than a Flash: The Fastest intuitive Startle Reflex response is found in a Long-Legged Fly, Condylostylus sp. (Dolichopodidae)
Andrei Sourakov
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Andrei Sourakov1 1McGuire center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, Florida Museum of natural History, college of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611 E-mail: asourakov
Florida Entomologist, 94(2):367-369 (2011). Https://doi.org/10.1653/024.094.0240
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Recently, fast reflex responses the skipper butterflies (Hesperiidae) come the photographic flash to be reported and were discovered to be among the fastest ever before recorded (Sourakov 2009). Utilizing a similar photographic technique, but a faster and an ext precise camera, even faster response times were discovered in Condylostylus flies (Diptera: Dolichopodidae). This brand-new record reported below undoubtedly constitutes the more quickly reflex solution of a member the the pet kingdom ever recorded.

The observations were do in the organic Teaching Laboratory, a forested area top top the university of Florida campus, Gainesville, Florida. A Condylostylus sp. Was photographed through a Canon EOS camera the built-in flash at a shutter speed of 1/200 s = 5 ms. Photographs in Fig. 1 were taken v an expression of ca. 20 s within a 4-min period. The fly, startled by the flash, was able to take flight 9 the end of 10 times prior to the picture was taken. Together a result, the fly"s photo was repeatedly recorded in flight (Fig. 1). The fly"s intuitive startle reflex caused by the flash had a latent period of much less than 5 multiple sclerosis and, perhaps, just 2 ms. Part habituation can take place as confirmed when the camera to be fired consecutively 4 times: the fly did no react come the 4th flash and hence the fly remained in a resting place (Fig. 1D). However, the fly quickly recovered and continued reacting to the flash 20 s later. No other varieties of insects photographed during the very same time in the same place with the same equipment, have exhibited comparable behavior, which leads to conclusion that this especially reaction time is certain to the long-legged flies.

While earlier studies thought about startle reflexes to be specific to mammals, Hoy (1989) stated that “all actions that have survival worth are most likely to be found in all animals facing comparable problems.” For numerous insects, a quick escape by crawling or paris is the main mode the defense. Once moths react to the ultrasound produced by bats (Order Chiroptera), this evading habits can be classified as an acoustic startle response (Hoy et al. 1989). The response latencies in noctuid moths (Feltia spp., Leucania spp., Amathes normaniana Grote, Agrotis ypsilon Rottemberg, Ochropleura plecta L. And also Euxoa obeliscoides Gueneé) are very short, on the stimulate of tens of milliseconds (Roeder 1967). Mechano-receptive hair on tail appendages of a cockroach, Periplaneta americana L., recognize the change in waiting pressure caused by a rapid approaching object, and can create an escape an answer in much less than 50 ms (Camhi & Tom 1978). Home flies, Musca domestica L., have a comparable reaction time of 30–50 multiple sclerosis to a visual danger (Holmqvist 1994). The frighten reflex that Condylostylus paris most definitely constitutes the faster in insects, together it is 3–10 times quicker than the formerly reported reflex an answer times.

Considering a great variety that insect species (estimates selection between 2 and also 30 million species) the is no surprising that the fastest escape response time should be uncovered in that details group the animals. However, many insects count on camouflage, living in shelters, special exoskeleton v sharp spines, awful bites, and also toxic substances because that defense. Defense by quick escape response can be costly to maintain, together it assumes a very high metabolic rate as well as continuous alertness, which for a cold-blooded animal can it is in problematic. Skipper butterflies and dolychopodid flies—as different as lock are—both have actually a habit that perching openly on the upper surfaces of pipeline in sunny areas of forests. This allows them to entice mates and repel competitors by territorial behavior, but it additionally makes them noticeable prey because that birds.

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Capturing these insects have the right to be very difficult, whether for the entomologist through a network or for a bird, due to the fact that of their fast escape responses. The Condylostylus flies and also some of the an extremely fast varieties of skipper butterflies possess bright metallic colors. Why would animals that are not chemically protected advertise themselves so openly to potential predators? The explanation may lie (as argued by Daniel Janzen, pers. Comm.) in the capacity to escape consistently from predators, and thereby instill in the memory of predators the learned reflex of preventing this certain prey. Similar to yellow-and-black coloration signals the poison nature that their particular prey to birds, the bright metallic colour probably became a authorize of quick escape response. In nature, this energy-saving signal are useful to both prey and predators; and also hence this relatedbehaviors have tendency to co-evolve in a variety of species. The reality that the glowing coloration wake up in a range of fast-flying insects supports this hypothesis. Metallic, vibrant colors, similar to those that dolichopodid flies, are additionally found in other fast-flying insects, such as hairstreak butterflies (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae: Theclinae), orchid bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Euglossinae), cuckoo wasps (Hymenoptera: Chrysididae), and also some fast flying skippers (e.g., Astraptes (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae)). Various other metallically fancy insects with fast escape responses include leaf beetles (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), which do not have rapid flight, yet have either rapid hopping escape responses or fast “play-dead” responses. It would be an extremely interesting to check if a mimicry complicated exists among metallically colored insects, where mimics take benefit of fast escape responses emerged by models and also capitalize on your success without having actually to invest in the advancement of your own rapid escape mechanism.