A diverse range of organisms shows physiological and behavioural rhythms with various periods. Extensive studies have been performed to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of circadian rhythms with an approximately 24 h period in both Drosophila and mammals, while less attention has been paid to ultradian rhythms with shorter periods. We used a video-tracking method to monitor the movement of single flies, and clear ultradian rhythms were detected in the locomotor behaviour of wild type and clock mutant flies kept under constant dark conditions. In particular, the Pigment-dispersing factor mutant (Pdf01) demonstrated a precise and robust ultradian rhythmicity, which was not temperature compensated. Our results suggest that Drosophila has an endogenous ultradian oscillator that is masked by circadian rhythmic behaviours.
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