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Receptive field characteristics of a directionally selective movement detector in the visual system of the blow fly


Journal of Comparative Physiology A Sensory Neural and Behavioral Physiology 116(1): 39-50
Receptive field characteristics of a directionally selective movement detector in the visual system of the blow fly
Action potentials evoked by stepwise-moving visual stimuli were recorded extracellularly from the horizontally selective movement detectors in the lobula complex of the blowfly Calliphora erythrocephala (M.). The relation between the ommatidial mosaic structure of the compound eye and the behavior of the detector was studied. Maximum reactions were obtained for stimuli which moved with a step-width equal to .DELTA.phi.]h, where .DELTA.phi.h is the effective interommatidial angle. When using stepwise moving single contrast borders the reaction to a moving dark over bright contrast border was always greater than or equal to the reaction evoked by a moving bright over dark contrast border. Experiments with spatially small stimuli in which only a few rows of adjoining ommatidia were stimulated showed that the sensitivity distribution of the detector was spatially modulated with a period which equals the interommatidial angle .DELTA.phi. If the spatial wavelength .lambda.s of a square wave grating was adjusted in such a way that .DELTA.phi.h < .lambda.s < 2.DELTA.phi.h, the reaction of the detector was reversed: movement in the preferred direction results in inhibition and movement in the null direction results in excitation.


Accession: 006269910



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