Visual control of host pursuit in the parasitoid fly exorista japonica

Yoshifumi Yamawaki, Yooichi Kainoh, Hiroshi Honda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The tachinid fly Exorista japonica is a parasitoid of many kinds of lepidopterous larvae. After encountering a suitable host, the fly pursues the crawling larva on foot using visual cues to guide it. To investigate the visual control of host pursuit, we observed and videotaped pursuits of a host, the common armyworm Mythimna separata, for frame-by-frame analysis. Observation was performed in sunlight and under illumination from a fluorescent lamp. The fly pursued hosts discontinuously with a repeated stop-and-run motion. During a run, its movements consisted of rotation, forward translation and sideways translation. Rotation during a run was positively correlated with the angular position of the host's head. The direction of translation depended on the angular position of the host's head. Forward translation was negatively correlated with the visual angle subtended by the host. These results suggest that the fly orients and walks towards the leading edge of a moving target. There was little difference in the results between sunlight and illumination from a fluorescent lamp.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-492
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


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