Developing photoreceptor-based models of visual attraction in riverine tsetse, for use in the engineering of more-attractive polyester fabrics for control devices.
ABSTRACT: Riverine tsetse transmit the parasites that cause the most prevalent form of human African trypanosomiasis, Gambian HAT. In response to the imperative for cheap and efficient tsetse control, insecticide-treated 'tiny targets' have been developed through refinement of tsetse attractants based on blue fabric panels. However, modern blue polyesters used for this purpose attract many less tsetse than traditional phthalogen blue cottons. Therefore, colour engineering polyesters for improved attractiveness has great potential for tiny target development. Because flies have markedly different photoreceptor spectral sensitivities from humans, and the responses of these photoreceptors provide the inputs to their visually guided behaviours, it is essential that polyester colour engineering be guided by fly photoreceptor-based explanations of tsetse attraction. To this end, tsetse attraction to differently coloured fabrics was recently modelled using the calculated excitations elicited in a generic set of fly photoreceptors as predictors. However, electrophysiological data from tsetse indicate the potential for modified spectral sensitivities versus the generic pattern, and processing of fly photoreceptor responses within segregated achromatic and chromatic channels has long been hypothesised. Thus, I constructed photoreceptor-based models explaining the attraction of G. f. fuscipes to differently coloured tiny targets recorded in a previously published investigation, under differing assumptions about tsetse spectral sensitivities and organisation of visual processing. Models separating photoreceptor responses into achromatic and chromatic channels explained attraction better than earlier models combining weighted photoreceptor responses in a single mechanism, regardless of the spectral sensitivities assumed. However, common principles for fabric colour engineering were evident across the complete set of models examined, and were consistent with earlier work. Tools for the calculation of fly photoreceptor excitations are available with this paper, and the ways in which these and photoreceptor-based models of attraction can provide colorimetric values for the engineering of more-attractively coloured polyester fabrics are discussed.
Project description:Palpalis group tsetse flies are the major vectors of human African trypanosomiasis, and visually-attractive targets and traps are important tools for their control. Considerable efforts are underway to optimise these visual baits, and one factor that has been investigated is coloration. Analyses of the link between visual bait coloration and tsetse fly catches have used methods which poorly replicate sensory processing in the fly visual system, but doing so would allow the visual information driving tsetse attraction to these baits to be more fully understood, and the reflectance spectra of candidate visual baits to be more completely analysed. Following methods well established for other species, I reanalyse the numbers of tsetse flies caught at visual baits based upon the calculated photoreceptor excitations elicited by those baits. I do this for large sets of previously published data for Glossina fuscipes fuscipes (Lindh et al. (2012). PLoS Negl Trop Dis 6: e1661), G. palpalis palpalis (Green (1988). Bull Ent Res 78: 591), and G. pallidipes (Green and Flint (1986). Bull Ent Res 76: 409). Tsetse attraction to visual baits in these studies can be explained by a colour opponent mechanism to which the UV-blue photoreceptor R7y contributes positively, and both the green-yellow photoreceptor R8y, and the low-wavelength UV photoreceptor R7p, contribute negatively. A tool for calculating fly photoreceptor excitations is made available with this paper, and this will facilitate a complete and biologically authentic description of visual bait reflectance spectra that can be employed in the search for more efficacious visual baits, or the analysis of future studies of tsetse fly attraction.
Project description:Tsetse flies transmit trypanosomes that cause nagana in cattle, and sleeping sickness in humans. Therefore, optimising visual baits to control tsetse is an important priority. Tsetse are intercepted at visual baits due to their initial attraction to the bait, and their subsequent contact with it due to landing or accidental collision. Attraction is proposed to be driven in part by a chromatic mechanism to which a UV-blue photoreceptor contributes positively, and a UV and a green photoreceptor contribute negatively. Landing responses are elicited by stimuli with low luminance, but many studies also find apparently strong landing responses when stimuli have high UV reflectivity, which would imply that UV wavelengths contribute negatively to attraction at a distance, but positively to landing responses at close range. The strength of landing responses is often judged using the number of tsetse sampled at a cloth panel expressed as a proportion of the combined catch of the cloth panel and a flanking net that samples circling flies. I modelled these data from two previously published field studies, using calculated fly photoreceptor excitations as predictors. I found that the proportion of tsetse caught on the cloth panel increased with an index representing the chromatic mechanism driving attraction, as would be expected if the same mechanism underlay both long- and close-range attraction. However, the proportion of tsetse caught on the cloth panel also increased with excitation of the UV-sensitive R7p photoreceptor, in an apparently separate but interacting behavioural mechanism. This R7p-driven effect resembles the fly open-space response which is believed to underlie their dispersal towards areas of open sky. As such, the proportion of tsetse that contact a cloth panel likely reflects a combination of deliberate landings by potentially host-seeking tsetse, and accidental collisions by those seeking to disperse, with a separate visual mechanism underlying each behaviour.
Project description:The savannah tsetse flies, Glossina morsitans morsitans and G. pallidipes, are important vectors of Rhodesian human African trypanosomiasis and animal African trypanosomiasis in East and southern Africa. We tested in Zimbabwe whether robust, synthetic fabrics, and innovative fly's-eye-view approaches to optimise fabric colour, can improve insecticide-treated targets employed for tsetse control. Flies were caught by electrocution at a standard target comprising a 1m x 1m black cotton cloth panel with 1m x 0.5m black polyester net panels on each side. Catches were subdivided by species and sex. Tsetse catches were unaffected by substitution of the black cotton with a blue polyester produced for riverine tsetse targets. Exchanging the net panels for phthalogen blue cotton to simulate the target routinely used in Zimbabwe significantly reduced catches of female G. m. morsitans (mean catch 0.7 times that at standard), with no effect on other tsetse catches. However, significantly greater proportions of the catch were intercepted at the central panel of the Zimbabwe (means 0.47-0.79) versus standard designs (0.11-0.29). We also engineered a new violet polyester cloth using models of tsetse attraction based upon fly photoreceptor responses. With and without odour lure, catches of females of both species at the violet target were significantly greater than those at standard (means 1.5-1.6 times those at standard), and typical blue polyester targets (means 0.9-1.3 times those at standard). Similar effects were observed for males under some combinations of species and odour treatment. The proportions of catch intercepted at the central panel of the violet target (means 0.08-0.18) were intermediate between those at standard and typical blue polyester. Further, the reflectance spectrum of violet polyester was more stable under field conditions than that of black cotton. Our results demonstrate the effectiveness of photoreceptor-based models as a novel means of improving targets to control tsetse and trypanosomiases.
Project description:Drosophila melanogaster has long been a popular model insect species, due in large part to the availability of genetic tools and is fast becoming the model for insect colour vision. Key to understanding colour reception in Drosophila is in-depth knowledge of spectral inputs and downstream neural processing. While recent studies have sparked renewed interest in colour processing in Drosophila, photoreceptor spectral sensitivity measurements have yet to be carried out in vivo. We have fully characterised the spectral input to the motion and colour vision pathways, and directly measured the effects of spectral modulating factors, screening pigment density and carotenoid-based ocular pigments. All receptor sensitivities had significant shifts in spectral sensitivity compared to previous measurements. Notably, the spectral range of the Rh6 visual pigment is substantially broadened and its peak sensitivity is shifted by 92 nm from 508 to 600 nm. We show that this deviation can be explained by transmission of long wavelengths through the red screening pigment and by the presence of the blue-absorbing filter in the R7y receptors. Further, we tested direct interactions between inner and outer photoreceptors using selective recovery of activity in photoreceptor pairs.
Project description:Ants are thought to be special among Hymenopterans in having only dichromatic colour vision based on two spectrally distinct photoreceptors. Many ants are highly visual animals, however, and use vision extensively for navigation. We show here that two congeneric day- and night-active Australian ants have three spectrally distinct photoreceptor types, potentially supporting trichromatic colour vision. Electroretinogram recordings show the presence of three spectral sensitivities with peaks (?max) at 370, 450 and 550 nm in the night-active Myrmecia vindex and peaks at 370, 470 and 510 nm in the day-active Myrmecia croslandi. Intracellular electrophysiology on individual photoreceptors confirmed that the night-active M. vindex has three spectral sensitivities with peaks (?max) at 370, 430 and 550 nm. A large number of the intracellular recordings in the night-active M. vindex show unusually broad-band spectral sensitivities, suggesting that photoreceptors may be coupled. Spectral measurements at different temporal frequencies revealed that the ultraviolet receptors are comparatively slow. We discuss the adaptive significance and the probability of trichromacy in Myrmecia ants in the context of dim light vision and visual navigation.
Project description:Background:Several anatomical studies provide evidence that green turtles (Chelonia mydas) possess the necessary anatomy for colour vision. Behavioural experiments have previously been conducted with newly emerged hatchlings, concluding that they are attracted to shorter wavelengths compared to longer wavelengths within a terrestrial environment, suggesting a possible attraction towards blue. This paper assessed the colour vision of hatchlings within an aquatic environment, and investigated whether the attraction for shorter wavelengths remains consistent within water, whether the colour saturation of the chromatic stimuli was an important factor, and whether rearing and testing individual animals in different coloured housing tanks has an impact on their visual choices. Methods:Forty-one hatchling green turtles were presented with a three-choice experiment where food was attached to three different coloured plates. The plates (blue, yellow, and red) were randomly arranged in the turtle's tank and four different colour saturations were tested (100, 75, 50, and 25%). Turtles were individually placed into their housing tanks (coloured either red, white, blue or grey) with three different colour plates in front of them, from the same saturation level. The colour of the plate with food first approached and bitten by the turtle was recorded. Results:The colour of the tank in which an individual was reared, and where experiments were conducted, significantly influenced which food item was selected on the different coloured plates. While individual turtles preferred to select the food items associated with blue plates across the entire experiment (66.1% of the time compared to 18.2% and 15.7% for yellow and red plates respectively), the preference for blue plates was influenced by the colour of the rearing/experimental tank. Individuals raised in red, white or blue tanks appeared to consistently prefer food on blue plates, but there appeared to be no plate colour preference by turtles in grey tanks. There was no significant effect of either colour saturation or the spatial arrangement of the three colours within an experimental tank on colour choice, and no significant interaction between tank colour and colour saturation. Discussion:Thesefindings confirm that the terrestrial preference towards shorter wavelength colours, such as blue, compared to longer wavelength colours remains consistent within an aquatic environment. This preference for blue continues even as the colour saturation reduces from 100% down to 25%, and the colours become darker. Thus, it is suggested that green turtle hatchlings have a strong attraction towards blue. This attraction, however, is influenced by the colour of the tank the turtles were raised in. While this supports the notion that environmental colour may influence individual turtle visual capabilities, it suggests that this relationship is more complicated, and requires further investigation.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Most cases of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) start with a bite from one of the subspecies of Glossina fuscipes. Tsetse use a range of olfactory and visual stimuli to locate their hosts and this response can be exploited to lure tsetse to insecticide-treated targets thereby reducing transmission. To provide a rational basis for cost-effective designs of target, we undertook studies to identify the optimal target colour. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: On the Chamaunga islands of Lake Victoria , Kenya, studies were made of the numbers of G. fuscipes fuscipes attracted to targets consisting of a panel (25 cm square) of various coloured fabrics flanked by a panel (also 25 cm square) of fine black netting. Both panels were covered with an electrocuting grid to catch tsetse as they contacted the target. The reflectances of the 37 different-coloured cloth panels utilised in the study were measured spectrophotometrically. Catch was positively correlated with percentage reflectance at the blue (460 nm) wavelength and negatively correlated with reflectance at UV (360 nm) and green (520 nm) wavelengths. The best target was subjectively blue, with percentage reflectances of 3%, 29%, and 20% at 360 nm, 460 nm and 520 nm respectively. The worst target was also, subjectively, blue, but with high reflectances at UV (35% reflectance at 360 nm) wavelengths as well as blue (36% reflectance at 460 nm); the best low UV-reflecting blue caught 3× more tsetse than the high UV-reflecting blue. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Insecticide-treated targets to control G. f. fuscipes should be blue with low reflectance in both the UV and green bands of the spectrum. Targets that are subjectively blue will perform poorly if they also reflect UV strongly. The selection of fabrics for targets should be guided by spectral analysis of the cloth across both the spectrum visible to humans and the UV region.
Project description:Over the past 20 years there has been a >95% reduction in the number of Gambian Human African trypanosomiasis (g-HAT) cases reported globally, largely as a result of large-scale active screening and treatment programmes. There are however still foci where the disease persists, particularly in parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Additional control efforts such as tsetse control using Tiny Targets may therefore be required to achieve g-HAT elimination goals. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of Tiny Targets within DRC. In 2015-2017, pre- and post-intervention tsetse abundance data were collected from 1,234 locations across three neighbouring Health Zones (Yasa Bonga, Mosango, Masi Manimba). Remotely sensed dry season data were combined with pre-intervention tsetse presence/absence data from 332 locations within a species distribution modelling framework to produce a habitat suitability map. The impact of Tiny Targets on the tsetse population was then evaluated by fitting a generalised linear mixed model to the relative fly abundance data collected from 889 post-intervention monitoring sites within Yasa Bonga, with habitat suitability, proximity to the intervention and intervention duration as covariates. Immediately following the introduction of the intervention, we observe a dramatic reduction in fly catches by > 85% (pre-intervention: 0.78 flies/trap/day, 95% CI 0.676-0.900; 3 month post-intervention: 0.11 flies/trap/day, 95% CI 0.070-0.153) which is sustained throughout the study period. Declines in catches were negatively associated with proximity to Tiny Targets, and while habitat suitability is positively associated with abundance its influence is reduced in the presence of the intervention. This study adds to the body of evidence demonstrating the impact of Tiny Targets on tsetse across a range of ecological settings, and further characterises the factors which modify its impact. The habitat suitability maps have the potential to guide the expansion of tsetse control activities in this area.
Project description:In Drosophila, the four inner photoreceptor neurons exhibit overlapping but distinct spectral sensitivities and mediate behaviors that reflect spectral preference. We developed a genetic strategy, Tango-Trace, that has permitted the identification of the connections of the four chromatic photoreceptors. Each of the four stochastically distributed chromatic photoreceptor subtypes make distinct connections in the medulla with four different TmY cells. Moreover, each class of TmY cells forms a retinotopic map in both the medulla and the lobula complex, generating four overlapping topographic maps that could carry different color information. Thus, the four inner photoreceptors transmit spectral information through distinct channels that may converge in both the medulla and lobula complex. These projections could provide an anatomic basis for color vision and may relay information about color to motion sensitive areas. Moreover, the Tango-Trace strategy we used may be applied more generally to identify neural circuits in the fly brain.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND AIMS:Flower colour plays a major role in the attraction and decision-making of pollinators. Different functional groups of pollinators tend to prefer different flower colours, and therefor may lead to different flower colour compositions among different communities depending on the visual system of the dominant pollinators. However, few studies have investigated the linkage between pollinator fauna and flower colour composition in natural communities, a theme we explored in the present study. METHODS:Flower spectral reflectance of 106 Japanese and 96 New Zealand alpine plants in the wavelength range 300-700 nm were measured. The composition of pollinator fauna in the communities and the types of pollinators for each plant species were also investigated. KEY RESULTS:Based on bee and fly colour vision models, as well as a principal components analysis, considering phylogenetic non-independence between plant species, flower colours appeared to vary according to pollinator type rather than geographical region. Consequently, flower colour composition differed between the regions, reflecting the bee/fly mixed pollinator fauna of Japan and the fly-dominant pollinator fauna of New Zealand. According to the bee colour vision model, the majority of the colours of hymenopteran-pollinated flowers appeared to be discriminated by bees. In contrast, many of the colours of dipteran-pollinated flowers would not be discriminated by bees and flies. CONCLUSION:The results suggest that the differences in flower colour composition between Japanese and New Zealand alpine communities are due to differences in the pollinator fauna in these communities rather than differences in abiotic factors between the geographical regions and the phylogenetic origin of the communities.