Biological Investigation of Neural Circuits in the Insect Brain

  • Luca Patanè
  • Roland Strauss
  • Paolo ArenaEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Applied Sciences and Technology book series (BRIEFSAPPLSCIENCES)


Watching insects thoughtfully one cannot but adore their behavioural capabilities. They have developed amazing reproductive, foraging and orientation strategies and at the same time they followed the evolutionary path of miniaturization and sparseness. Both features together turn them into a role model for autonomous robots. Despite their tiny brains, fruit flies (Drosophila) can orient, walk on uneven terrain, in any orientation to gravity, can fly in adverse winds, find partners, places for egg laying, food and shelter. Drosophila melanogaster is the model animal for geneticists and cutting-edge tools are being continuously developed to study the underpinnings of their behavioural capabilities. This provided novel insight into the wiring and the working of central brain structures like the mushroom bodies and the central complex. Plasticity of the nervous system underlies adaptive behaviour. Drosophila flies show various memories from a 4-s working memory for orientation to a life-long body-size memory. Here we will discuss some of the functions and brain structures underlying fitness and role-model function of insects for autonomously roving robots.


Mushroom Bodies Kenyon Cells Protocerebral Bridge Mushroom Body Output Neurons (MBON) Ellipsoid Body 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Ingegneria Elettrica Elettronica e dei SistemiUniversity of CataniaCataniaItaly
  2. 2.Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie und NeurobiologieJohannes Gutenberg Universität MainzMainzGermany

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