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Wings and halteres act as coupled dual-oscillators in flies


Deora, Tanvi; Sane, Siddharth; Sane, Sanjay (2022), Wings and halteres act as coupled dual-oscillators in flies, Dryad, Dataset,


The mechanics of Dipteran thorax is dictated by a network of exoskeletal linkages which, when deformed by the flight muscles, generate coordinated wing movements. In Diptera, the forewings power flight, whereas the hindwings have evolved into specialized structures called halteres which provide rapid mechanosensory feedback for flight stabilization. Although actuated by independent muscles, wing and haltere motion is precisely phase-coordinated at high frequencies. Because wingbeat frequency is a product of wing-thorax resonance, any wear-and-tear of wings or thorax should impair flight ability. How robust is the Dipteran flight system against such perturbations? Here, we show that wings and halteres are independently-driven, coupled oscillators. We systematically reduced the wing length in flies and observed how wing-haltere synchronization was affected. The wing-wing system is a strongly-coupled oscillator, whereas the wing-haltere system is weakly-coupled through mechanical linkages which synchronize phase and frequency. Wing-haltere link acts in a unidirectional manner; altering wingbeat frequency affects haltere frequency, but not vice-versa. Exoskeletal linkages are thus key morphological features of the Dipteran thorax which ensure wing-haltere synchrony, despite severe wing damage.


This data was collected as part of experiments to test the mechanical coupling of wing and halteres in flies for the paper "Wings and halteres act as coupled dual-oscillators in flies", DOI: 10.7554/eLife.53824. Wing and haltere frequency and amplitude were computed from high speed videos of tethered soldier flies after a series of mechanical perturbations. Please find details of the data organization in the usage notes as well as the relevant readme file within the dataset. The code database to generate this data can be found at

Usage Notes

The data analysis has two separte parts: Frequency analysis and the Amplitude analysis across several fly treatments. 

The frequency analysis files are organized in separate treatment files. The files include several .mat files whose organization are explained in the readme file in the FrequencyAnalysis folder.

The amplitude analysis has three separate subfolders:1) First one contains the digitized data from videos (Digitization_Final_Data), 2) second contains all the analysis file of the digititized data (GetAmplitude) and the 3) third contains three trained models for tracking wing and halteres (TrainedModels). Like the frequency analysis, these are organized with each treatment's data in a separate folder. For each treatment in the the "GetAmpltude" folder, there are two subfolders: 1) "TransformedData" which contains the fly centric coordinates for the digitized points in a .mat format and 2) "Kinematics" folder which contains all the relevant kinematics of body parts (wings and halteres), also in .mat format and finally 3) it also contains one .csv file for each fly in that treatment which has the wing(and haltere) ampltiude across all wing beats for a single fly as well as a "median_summary.csv" file which has the mean amplitude for all flies.