Song production in auditory mutants of drosophila: The role of sensory feedback

Eran Tauber, Daniel F. Eberl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To test the role of sensory feedback in song production, we analyzed the courtship songs of Drosophila males expressing auditory mutations. We compared the courtship songs of atonal (ato), beethoven (btv) and touch-insensitive-larva-B (tilB) to wild-type songs. These mutations have in common the fact that the chordotonal organs are disrupted. Since chordotonal organs subserve both hearing (in the antenna) and proprioception (from the wing), these two potential routes for sensory feedback are defective in the mutant flies. We measured six song characters: Pulse number within a train, inter-pulse interval, pulse duration, sine burst duration, the carrier frequency of the sine song and the relative amplitude of the sine song. Using multivariate analysis, we found significant differences between mutant and normal songs. In addition many mutant flies exhibit an unusual wing position during singing. The results indicate that sensory feedback plays an important role in shaping the courtship song of Drosophila.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-348
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements We thank Chun-Fang Wu, Jeff Eng el, Mei-ling Joiner, Ron Hoy and Laurie Tompkins for critical comments on the manuscript. We thank Jeremy Richardson for technical help. This work was supported by a Whitehall Foundation grant to D.F.E. and by a University of Iowa Biosciences Initiative postdoctoral fellowship awarded to E.T. These experiments comply with the ``Principles of animal care'', publication No. 86-23, revised 1985, of the National Institutes of Health and with the current laws of the U.S.A.


  • Chordotonal organs
  • Courtship song
  • Drosophila melanogaster Auditory mutants
  • Sensory feedback

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Song production in auditory mutants of drosophila: The role of sensory feedback'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this