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:4/15/2016)... April 15, 2016 Research ... Gait Biometrics Market 2016-2020,"  report to their offering.  ... ) , ,The global gait biometrics market is ... during the period 2016-2020. Gait analysis ... can be used to compute factors that are ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... , March 31, 2016  Genomics firm Nabsys has ... CEO, Barrett Bready , M.D., who returned to ... the original technical leadership team, including Chief Technology Officer, ... Product Development, Steve Nurnberg and Vice President of Software ... the company. Dr. Bready served as CEO ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... PROVO and SANDY, Utah ... (NSO), which operates the highest sample volume laboratory in ... Tute Genomics and UNIConnect, leaders in clinical sequencing informatics ... the launch of a project to establish the informatics ... NSO has been contracted by the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)...  The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university competition that ... living systems and biotechnology, announced its winning teams at ... New York City . The teams, ... at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the daylong summit. ... curator of architecture and design, and Suzanne Lee ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Supplyframe, the Industry Network for electronics hardware ... . Located in Pasadena, Calif., the Design Lab’s mission is to bring together ... built and brought to market. , The Design Lab is Supplyframe’s physical representation ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... NC (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... In ... University Hospital in Denmark detail how a patient who developed lymphedema after being treated ... tissue. The results could change the paradigm for dealing with this debilitating, frequent side ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, a company dedicated ... the medical community, has closed its Series A funding ... . "We have received a commitment from ... we need to meet our current goals," stated ... the runway to complete validation on the current projects ...
Breaking Biology Technology: