We describe the anatomy of all the primary motor neurons in the fly proboscis and characterize their contributions to its diverse reaching movements. Pairing this behavior with the wealth of Drosophila's genetic tools offers the possibility to study motor control at single-neuron resolution, and soon throughout entire circuits. As an entry to these circuits, we provide detailed anatomy of proboscis motor neurons, muscles, and joints. We create a collection of fly strains to individually manipulate every proboscis muscle through control of its motor neurons, the first such collection for an appendage. We generate a model of the action of each proboscis joint, and find that only a small number of motor neurons are needed to produce proboscis reaching. Comprehensive control of each motor element in this numerically simple system paves the way for future study of both reflexive and flexible movements of this appendage.
Keywords: D. melanogaster; Drosophila; directed reach; motor control; motor neuron; neural circuit; neuroscience; proboscis.
© 2020, McKellar et al.