Frontal View of Larvae with Bilateral vs. Unilateral Olfactory Input in a Banana Odor Gradient

An odor gradient of banana odor (isoamyl acetate) forms at the far end of the odor chamber. The chemotaxis behavior of single fruit fly larvae is tracked. These animals are manipulated to have very limited olfactory input. The animals colored green have only a single active olfactory neuron on one side of the animal. Those in blue have the same bilaterally symmetric olfactory neuron active on both sides of the animal, but all other olfactory neurons are silent. Note that the blue animals navigate more accurately in the odor gradient. The 2 spheres at the head of the larvae signal if the animal is heading left or right (depending on which one is red).

This data visualization by Jane Nisselson and Christine Yee is based on primary data from this article from the Vosshall Lab:

Matthieu Louis, Thomas Huber, Richard Benton, Thomas P Sakmar & Leslie B Vosshall. Bilateral olfactory sensory input enhances chemotaxis behavior. Nature Neuroscience 11:187-199 (2008).

Data visualization by
Jane Nisselson, Virtual Beauty
Christine Yee, MIT