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A 'bright zone' in male hoverfly (Eristalis tenax) eyes and associated faster motion detection and increased contrast sensitivity

Publiceringsår: 2006
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 4339-4354
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Journal of Experimental Biology
Volym: 209
Nummer: 21
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: The Company of Biologists Ltd


Eyes of the hoverfly Eristalis tenax are sexually dimorphic such that males have a fronto-dorsal region of large facets. In contrast to other large flies in which large facets are associated with a decreased interommatidial angle to form a dorsal 'acute zone' of increased spatial resolution, we show that a dorsal region of large facets in males appears to form a 'bright zone' of increased light capture without substantially increased spatial resolution. Theoretically, more light allows for increased performance in tasks such as motion detection. To determine the effect of the bright zone on motion detection, local properties of wide field motion detecting neurons were investigated using localized sinusoidal gratings. The pattern of local preferred directions of one class of these cells, the HS cells, in Eristalis is similar to that reported for the blowfly Calliphora. The bright zone seems to contribute to local contrast sensitivity; high contrast sensitivity exists in portions of the receptive field served by large diameter facet lenses of males and is not observed in females. Finally, temporal frequency tuning is also significantly faster in this frontal portion of the world, particularly in males, where it overcompensates for the higher spatial-frequency tuning and shifts the predicted local velocity optimum to higher speeds. These results indicate that increased retinal illuminance due to the bright zone of males is used to enhance contrast sensitivity and speed motion detector responses. Additionally, local neural properties vary across the visual world in a way not expected if HS cells serve purely as matched filters to measure yaw-induced visual motion.


  • Zoology
  • sexual dimorphism
  • insect vision
  • motion detection


  • Lund Vision Group
  • ISSN: 1477-9145

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