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Type: Journal article
Title: Sexual dimorphism in the hoverfly motion vision pathway
Author: Nordstrom, K.
Barnett, P.
Moyer, I.
Brinkworth, R.
O'Carroll, D.
Citation: Current Biology, 2008; 18(9):661-667
Publisher: Dell Press
Issue Date: 2008
ISSN: 0960-9822
Statement of
Karin Nordström, Paul D. Barnett, Irene M. Moyer de Miguel, Russell S.A. Brinkworth, and David C. O'Carroll
Abstract: Many insects perform high-speed aerial maneuvers in which they navigate through visually complex surrounds. Among insects, hoverflies stand out, with males switching from stationary hovering to high-speed pursuit at extreme angular velocities [1]. In dipterans, 50-60 large interneurons -- the lobula-plate tangential cells (LPTCs) -- detect changes in optic flow experienced during flight [2-5]. It has been predicted that large LPTC receptive fields are a requirement of accurate "matched filters" of optic flow [6]. Whereas many fly taxa have three horizontal system (HS) LPTC neurons in each hemisphere, hoverflies have four [7], possibly reflecting the more sophisticated flight behavior. We here show that the most dorsal hoverfly neuron (HS north [HSN]) is sexually dimorphic, with the male receptive field substantially smaller than in females or in either sex of blowflies. The (hoverfly-specific) HSN equatorial (HSNE) is, however, sexually isomorphic. Using complex optic flow, we show that HSN, despite its smaller receptive field, codes yaw velocity as well as HSNE. Responses to a target moving against a plain or textured background suggest that the male HSN could potentially play a role in target pursuit under some conditions.
Keywords: Neurons
Motion Perception
Sex Characteristics
Flight, Animal
Optic Lobe, Nonmammalian
Description: Copyright © 2008 Cell Press
DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2008.03.061
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