Hearing is an important sensory modality for most animals to detect sound signals as they mate, look for food or fend off prey. Despite its critical role in numerous innate behaviors, relatively little is known about how the sensory information regarding the movement of air particles is detected, processed and integrated in the brain. Drosophila melanogaster, with a rather simple nervous system and the large variety of molecular and genetic tools available for its study, is an ideal model organism for dissecting the mechanisms underlying sound sensing. Here we describe assays to measure sound responses of flies behaviorally. Although this method was originally developed for mutant screening, it can also be combined with recent genetic techniques to analyze functions of the identified neural circuits by silencing or activating select sets of neurons. This assay requires ∼15 min for an experiment and 1.5 h for subsequent analyses.
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