Auto-regulatory feedback loops are a common molecular strategy used to optimize protein function. In Drosophila, many messenger RNAs involved in neuro-transmission are re-coded at the RNA level by the RNA-editing enzyme, dADAR, leading to the incorporation of amino acids that are not directly encoded by the genome. dADAR also re-codes its own transcript, but the consequences of this auto-regulation in vivo are unclear. Here we show that hard-wiring or abolishing endogenous dADAR auto-regulation dramatically remodels the landscape of re-coding events in a site-specific manner. These molecular phenotypes correlate with altered localization of dADAR within the nuclear compartment. Furthermore, auto-editing exhibits sexually dimorphic patterns of spatial regulation and can be modified by abiotic environmental factors. Finally, we demonstrate that modifying dAdar auto-editing affects adaptive complex behaviours. Our results reveal the in vivo relevance of auto-regulatory control over post-transcriptional mRNA re-coding events in fine-tuning brain function and organismal behaviour.