We are investigating, in Drosophila, the genetics and the neuromuscular circuitry responsible for the generation of the seismic signals and the sensory systems needed for their reception. We are also interested in the evolution of these mechanisms and we are looking at this mode of communication in different Drosophila species. The main questions we are addressing are: What are the neuro-muscular networks generating abdominal tremulations in males? How is the female receiving the vibrations (what are the vibration-receptors)? How is her response (she remains stationary) generated by the Central Nervous System? How does substrate-borne communication vary between different Drosophila species?

Video clip showing Drosophila melanogaster courtship.
Abdominal tremulations are the rapid up-and-down movements performed by the male. The female remains stationary during male tremulations.

3D Digital animation showing fly tremulation and the vibrations they generate in the ground.
We overlapped one of our recordings (obtained by laser vibrometry) of the vibrations generated during fly courtship on cactus. Clip from an animation designed for the Fabre group.

Immunohistochemistry of a fly brain (blue), highlighting different subsets of neurons (red and green).
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