Flight and Climbing Assay for Assessing Motor Functions in Drosophila   

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Original research article

A brief version of this protocol appeared in:
The Journal of Neuroscience
Oct 2015


Motor control requires the central nervous system to integrate different sensory inputs and convey this information to the relevant central pattern generator for execution of motor function through motor neurons and muscles. Proper motor control is essential for any mobile organism to survive and interact with the external environment. For flying insects, motor control is required for flying, walking, feeding and mating apart from other more advanced behaviours such as grooming and aggression. Any perturbation to the sensory input or malfunctioning of neural connections to the motor output can result in motor defects. Here, we describe simple protocols for assessing flight and climbing ability of fruit flies, which can be used as two general tests to assess their motor function.

Keywords: Tethers, Air-puff, Cold anaesthesia, Cylinder


Coordinated motor functions are important for every mobile organism for survival as the major needs of finding food, shelter, mates and escaping from predators involve motor activity. Here we describe protocols to assess the flight and climbing ability of both individual and groups of Drosophila melanogaster. Both these protocols have been used extensively in earlier studies (Agrawal and Hasan, 2015; Pathak et al., 2015; Richhariya et al., 2017).

Copyright: © 2018 The Authors; exclusive licensee Bio-protocol LLC.
How to cite:  Readers should cite both the Bio-protocol article and the original research article where this protocol was used:
  1. Manjila, S. B. and Hasan, G. (2018). Flight and Climbing Assay for Assessing Motor Functions in Drosophila. Bio-protocol 8(5): e2742. DOI: 10.21769/BioProtoc.2742.
  2. Pathak, T., Agrawal, T., Richhariya, S., Sadaf, S. and Hasan, G. (2015). Store-operated Calcium entry through orai is required for transcriptional maturation of the flight circuit in Drosophila. J Neurosci 35(40): 13784-13799.

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