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Centrophobism in Drosophila melanogaster. I. Behavioral modification induced by ether


Götz,  KG
Neurophysiologie des Insektenverhaltens, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Götz, K., & Biesinger, R. (1985). Centrophobism in Drosophila melanogaster. I. Behavioral modification induced by ether. Journal of Comparative Physiology A, 156(3), 319-327. doi:10.1007/BF00610725.

The term ‘centrophobism’ is introduced to describe a newly discovered modification of search behavior in the walking fruitfly,Drosophila melanogaster: the avoidance of the center of an arena after diethylether narcosis. Evidence for the effect is obtained by comparison of the tracks of etherized and non-etherized flies under the influence of olfactory attractant around the center of the arena (Fig. 3). The tracks can be distinguished by their mean radial distance from the central district of the arena. ‘Centrophobia’ denotes the relative difference of the distances of etherized flies and non-etherized controls (Fig. 4). Etherized flies avoid the center of the arena in spite of the attraction of olfactory, thermal or visual cues. The avoidance is significant even in the absence of conspicuous sensory cues for the discrimination of center and surround. The centrophobia obtained in the arena can be used to estimate the efficacy of attractants in the non-etherized control flies (Figs. 6, 7). The lowest possible dose of ether sufficient to elicit narcosis is sufficient to induce centrophobia. None of the other prevalent insect anaesthetics, CO2, N2 and cold, substitutes ether in the present experiments (Figs. 8, 9). Centrophobia arises immediately after ether narcosis. Once induced the effect lasts apparently undiminished for the life time of the flies (Fig. 9). Centrophobia has been found in either sex of the 9 strains tested so far (Fig. 5). Four strains including mutants deficient in wing formation (vestigial) or learning (dunce) show either temporal decline or partial suppression of centrophobia. The anomalous properties are actually due to enhanced spontaneous centrophobism in the non-etherized control groups of these strains (Fig. 10).