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How are tracking and fixation accomplished in the nervous system of the fly?

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http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons84306

Wehrhahn,  C
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Wehrhahn, C. (1980). How are tracking and fixation accomplished in the nervous system of the fly? Biological Cybernetics, 38(3), 179-186. doi:10.1007/BF00337407.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-F0F8-B
Abstract
The optomotor yaw torque response of fixed flying female houseflies, Musca domestica to three different types of visual stimuli is analyzed. In contrast to most previous investigations, the stimuli were displayed for short time intervals only in order to approximate transiently occuring visual stimuli, which mainly govern the torque generation during free flight. Monocular stimulation with a periodic pattern moving in different positions in the equatorial plane of the compound eyes reveals that (1) flight torque responses are mainly induced by progressive (front to back) motion; regressively moving stimuli are significantly less effective. (2) the strength of the response to motion in the horizontal direction depends on the position of the stimulus and (3) vertical motions do not elicit flight torque responses. Correspondingly the response to a single vertical black stripe moving clockwise in a cylindrical panorama centered around the fly is small if the stripe is in the visual field of the left eye but becomes large and strongly depending on position if the stripe enters the visual field of the right eye. The response to counterclockwise motion of the stripe is small if the stripe is in the visual field of the right eye but becomes large and strongly depending on position if the stripe enters the visual field of the left eye. Torque responses to two adjacent stripes whose intensities are modulated in time with a rectangular function can be elicited if apparent motion is generated by means of a phase difference between the intensity modulations of the two stripes. Apparent progressive motion elicits strong torque responses, apparent regressive motion is less effective. Synchronous flicker of both stripes does not elicit torque responses. The extraction of positional information from the incoming visual signals has been considered to play an important role in the orientation behaviour, and especially in the tracking behaviour of flies. The results of the experiments indicate, that under transient stimulation the evaluation of positional information is in general not mediated by formerly postulated flicker detectors but is bound to the computation of motion. These findings are implemented in a model, describing the free flight tracking behaviour of a female fly on the horizontal plane. It is shown that tracking can be achieved by a mechanism whose sensitivity to motion is parametrized in the stimulus position as outlined above. The results of the behavioural experiments are interpreted in view of electrophysiological and anatomical data on giant interneurons in the third optic ganglion of the fly.