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Visual motion detection circuits in flies: peripheral motion computation by identified small-field retinotopic neurons

By John K. Douglass and Nicholas J. Strausfeld


Giant motion-sensitive tangential neurons in the lobula plate are thought to be cardinal elements in the oculomotor pathways of flies. However, these large neurons do not themselves compute motion, and elementary motion detec-tors have been proposed only from theory. Here we identify the forms, projections, and responses of small-field retin-otopic neurons that comprise a well known pathway from the retina to the lobula plate. Already at the level of the second and third synapses beneath the photoreceptor lay-er, certain of these small elements show responses that distinguish motion from flicker. At a level equivalent to the vertebrate inner plexiform layer (the fly’s outer medulla) at least one retinotopic element is directionally selective. At the inner medulla, small retinotopic neurons with bushy dendrites extending through a few neighboring column

Year: 1995
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