Neural control of aggression in Drosophila

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2016 Jun;38:109-18. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2016.04.007. Epub 2016 May 13.


Like most animal species, fruit flies fight to obtain and defend resources essential to survival and reproduction. Aggressive behavior in Drosophila is genetically specified and also strongly influenced by the fly's social context, past experiences and internal states, making it an excellent framework for investigating the neural mechanisms that regulate complex social behaviors. Here, I summarize our current knowledge of the neural control of aggression in Drosophila and discuss recent advances in understanding the sensory pathways that influence the decision to fight or court, the neuromodulatory control of aggression, the neural basis by which internal states can influence both fighting and courtship, and how social experience modifies aggressive behavior.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Drosophila / physiology*
  • Nervous System Physiological Phenomena*
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Social Behavior