1932

Abstract

Many insects locate resources such as a mate, a host, or food by flying upwind along the odor plumes that these resources emit to their source. A windborne plume has a turbulent structure comprised of odor filaments interspersed with clean air. As it propagates downwind, the plume becomes more dispersed and dilute, but filaments with concentrations above the threshold required to elicit a behavioral response from receiving organisms can persist for long distances. Flying insects orient along plumes by steering upwind, triggered by the optomotor reaction. Sequential measurements of differences in odor concentration are unreliable indicators of distance to or direction of the odor source. Plume intermittency and the plume's fine-scale structure can play a role in setting an insect's upwind course. The prowess of insects in navigating to odor sources has spawned bioinspired virtual models and even odor-seeking robots, although some of these approaches use mechanisms that are unnecessarily complex and probably exceed an insect's processing capabilities.

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2021-01-07
2024-04-18
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