Navigation Links
Photo: Tiger beetle's chase highlights mechanical law
Date:4/15/2014

ITHACA, N.Y. If an insect drew a line as it chased its next meal, the resulting pattern would be a tangled mess. But there's method to that mess, says Jane Wang, a Cornell University professor of mechanical engineering and physics, who tries to find simple physical explanations for complex, hardwired animal behaviors.

Photo: https://cornell.box.com/tbeetle

It turns out the tiger beetle, known for its speed and agility, does an optimal reorientation dance as it chases its prey at blinding speeds. Publishing online April 9 in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, Wang and colleagues used high-speed cameras and statistical analysis to reveal a proportional control law in which the angular position of prey, relative to the beetle's body axis, drives the beetle's angular velocity with a delay of 28 milliseconds. That's about a half-stride in beetle terms.

These observations led Wang to propose a physical interpretation of the behavior: that to turn toward its prey, the beetle, on average, exerts a sideways force proportional to the prey's angular position, measured a half-stride earlier.

"The idea is to find laws that animals use to intercept their prey," Wang said. "We do it, too [interception] when trying to catch a baseball, or when chasing someone. But since insects have a smaller number of neurons, their behaviors are more likely hardwired, which makes it possible for us to find and understand the rules they follow."

Why the tiger beetle? It's a nice model system, Wang said, which she learned after attending a talk several years ago by Cornell entomology professor Cole Gilbert, who studies neural mechanisms of behavior in arthropods and is a paper co-author. Andreas Haselsteiner, the paper's first author, was a visiting student in Wang's lab and designed the experiments.

For the experiments, a "dummy prey" a black bead was dangled in front of the beetle, which, mistaking the bead for a meal, would give chase. Its chasing patterns were recorded with a high-speed camera.

From their analysis emerged a macroscopic description of the animal's movements, which reveals an internal time scale that governs the beetle's sensing-to-actuation system and a close-to-optimal gain value in the control algorithm, Wang said.

From an evolutionary point of view, the sensing and moving are intimately connected, Wang continued. Some of the hundreds of thousands of neurons that function for sight are directly connected to the machinery for locomotion, which is directly related to the animal's instinct to survive that is, eat. Thus, studying how animals move can provide insight into how they sense their environment, and vice versa, she said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Syl Kacapyr
vpk6@cornell.edu
607-255-7701
Cornell University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Tiger lily heights controlled with flurprimidol preplant bulb soaks
2. Communities prepared to be resettled for sake of conserving tigers
3. Tracking the deep sea paths of tiger sharks
4. In Nepal, villagers land uses help people and tigers, study finds
5. Crop-raiding elephants flee tiger growls
6. UF: Newly discovered tiger shark migration pattern might explain attacks near Hawaii
7. Canine distemper virus: An emerging disease in rare Amur tigers
8. Disease not a factor in Tassie Tiger extinction
9. Tigers roar back: Good news for big cats in 3 key landscapes
10. Tigers take the night shift to coexist with people
11. To know a tiger is at least to start tolerating them, study shows
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/2/2017)... 1, 2017  Central to its deep commitment ... worldwide, The Japan Prize Foundation today announced the ... pushed the envelope in their respective fields of ... scientists are being recognized with the 2017 Japan ... only contribute to the advancement of science and ...
(Date:1/30/2017)...   Invitae Corporation (NYSE: NVTA ... today announced that it will report its fourth quarter ... on Monday, February 13, 2017, and Invitae,s management team ... p.m. Eastern / 1:45 p.m. Pacific. ... financial results, guidance, and recent developments and will spend ...
(Date:1/25/2017)... YORK , Jan. 25, 2017 The ... Access Management (IAM) lifecycle is comprised of a ... for the purpose of maintaining digital identities and ... resources and applications. There are significant number of ... from time to time by optimizing processes and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... Brain Sentinel, Inc. has received ... SPEAC® System, the Brain Sentinel® Seizure Monitoring and Alerting System. The adjunctive seizure ... periods of rest. A lightweight, non-invasive monitor is placed on the belly of ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... , ... The Greater Gift Initiative, Inc , (GGI) a Winston-Salem, NC ... GGI's mission is to advance global health and highlight the greater good of clinical ... each clinical trial volunteer. The vision of GGI is to serve as a philanthropic ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 22, 2017 , ... ... , have been named Fellows of the Society this year, the Fellows Committee ... the multidisciplinary fields of optics, photonics, and imaging as well as their service ...
(Date:2/22/2017)...  PrimeVax Immuno-Oncology, Inc. announced today its CEO, ... Biocom Global Life Science Partnering Conference.  The presentation will ... the Torrey Pines Lodge, in San Diego.  ... who have chosen our company, amongst numerous others, to ... and clinical researchers," said Mr. Chen. "In contrast to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: