Meeting Abstract

S1-3.15  Jan. 5  Innate preferences for flower motion dynamics in the hovering hawkmoth Manduca sexta SPRAYBERRY, Jordanna D. H.*; SUVER, Marie; Univ. of Arizona, Tucson; Univ. of Washington, Seattle

Hawkmoths are hovering feeders that meet the challenge of flower motions by exhibiting a compensatory tracking behavior. Previous work has shown this tracking behavior to have distinct tuning, with the hawkmoth Manduca sexta being best able to track flowers moving at 1 Hz in the horizontal and vertical axes. M. sexta were consistently poorer at tracking flowers in the looming axis (towards and away from the moth). Interestingly, when looking at how well M. sexta fed from moving flowers there was not a strong correlation between feeding and tracking performance. While M. sexta had the highest energy gain from stationary control flowers, there were minimal effects of frequency of flower motion on energy gain. However, M. sexta did have a much lower energy gain when feeding from flowers in the looming axis. To determine if there is a link between M. sextas innate flower-motion preferences and their energy gain, nave moths were offered a choice between two flowers with different motion dynamics. Three different comparisons were made: 1) horizontal vs. looming flowers, 2) stationary vs. 1 Hz flowers, and 3) 0.5 Hz vs. 1 Hz flowers. Manduca sexta showed a distinct preference for horizontally moving flowers (p<0.05), no preference for stationary flowers (p>0.1) and a very weak preference for 0.5 Hz flowers (p=0.07). These data indicate that M. sextas feeding preferences do mimic their energetic performance.