A novel thermosensitive escape behavior in Drosophila larvae

Matthew Oswald, Beata Rymarczyk, Alastair Chatters, Sean Sweeney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We describe a novel thermosensitive escape behavior in Drosophila larvae and a simple assay to accurately define the response temperature. When a larva is placed in a droplet of water that is subsequently heated, a stereotypical escape response is robustly elicited at 29°C. Larvae defective for the painless TRP receptor, or blocked in the function of class IV multi-dendritic sensory dendrites respond to this stimulus at reproducibly higher temperature (34°C). The escape response has novel behavioral components and a lower temperature threshold in comparison with the responses to touch with a hot needle. Furthermore the assay minimizes operator bias that is present in current tests of thermosensitive nociception and generates a precise determination of temperature at the point of response. This response is highly reproducible and directly applicable to genetic and neural circuit analysis of a simple escape behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-306
Number of pages3
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011

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