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Latest Michael Dickinson Stories

Fruit Flies Are Relentless Party Crashers
2014-02-05 13:30:09

University of Washington That fruit fly joining you just moments after you poured that first glass of cabernet, has just used its poppy-seed-sized brain to conduct a finely-choreographed search, one that’s been described for the first time by researchers at the University of Washington. The search mission is another example of fruit flies executing complex behaviors with very little “computational” power, their brains having 100,000 neurons compared to house flies with 300,000...

2012-12-06 11:14:31

How parasites remote control victims Parasites are unpleasant lodgers at the best of times, but there is one group of parasites that is particularly pernicious. These are the parasites that hijack their victims' nervous systems, reducing them to helpless zombies. 'The fact that parasites can so efficiently alter host behaviour is fascinating', says The Journal of Experimental Biology Editor Michael Dickinson, from the University of Washington, USA, adding, 'There is something horrifying...

Image 1 - Fruit Flies Look To The Sky To Stay On Course
2012-01-18 05:08:52

[ Watch the Video ] Insects, equipped with complex compound eyes, can maintain a constant heading in their travels, some of them for thousands of miles. New research demonstrates that fruit flies keep their bearings by using the polarization pattern of natural skylight, bolstering the belief that many, if not all, insects have that capability. "If you go out in a field, lie on your back and look up at the sky, that's pretty much what an insect sees," said Michael Dickinson, a University...

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2010-08-25 10:35:00

Flies follow horizontal edges to regulate altitude, says a team of researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). This finding contradicts a previous model, which posited that insects adjust their height by visually measuring the motion beneath them as they fly. This mechanism for controlling altitude"”in which the insects use their eyes to track horizontal edges in their environment"”is very similar to the strategy insects use to steer left and right, the...

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2010-02-15 08:00:00

Research opens a new avenue for linking genes to behavior Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have obtained the first recordings of brain-cell activity in an actively flying fruit fly. The work"”by Michael Dickinson, the Esther M. and Abe M. Zarem Professor of Bioengineering, with postdoctoral scholars Gaby Maimon and Andrew Straw"”suggests that at least part of the brain of the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) "is in a different and more sensitive...

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2008-08-29 07:45:00

Ever feel the frustration of failing to swat a fly? Well, researchers say they've solved the mystery. A U.S.-based study found the fly's ability to stay alive is due to its fast acting brain and an uncanny ability to plan ahead. The research noted that at the faintest hint of a threat, the insects adjust their preflight stance to flee in the opposite direction, ensuring a clean getaway. The study said this explains why flies so easily evade swipes from their human foes. "These movements are...


Word of the Day
baudekin
  • A rich embroidered or brocaded silk fabric woven originally with a warp of gold thread.
'Baudekin' seems to be an alternative form of 'baldachin,' from the Italian 'Baldacco,' Baghdad, the city where the material was made.
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