To court or not to court – a multimodal sensory decision in Drosophila males
GOODWIN S., RINGS A.
When Drosophila males encounter another fly, they have to make a rapid assessment to ensure the appropriate response: should they court, fight or pursue a different action entirely? Previous work has focused on the significance of sensory cues detected by the male during these encounters, however recent evidence highlights the importance of the male’s own internal state in shaping his responses. Additionally, once triggered, courtship is not a rigid sequence of motor actions, but rather a finely-tuned behavioural display that must continually update in response to sensory feedback. Here, we review recent findings highlighting how sensory information and internal states are integrated ensuring appropriate action selection, and how they sustain and fine-tune motor output. We further discuss recent advances in our understanding of species differences in sensory processing that may contribute to reproductive isolation.