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Orientation discrimination independent of retinal matching by blowflies.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
The Journal of experimental biology
Publication Date
Volume
204
Issue
Pt 1
Pages
15–23
Identifiers
PMID: 11104707
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Blowflies, Phaenicia sericata, can be trained to discriminate in a learning paradigm in which one of the two visual cues is positively rewarded. Retinotopic matching of a learned visual image to the same retinal location from viewing to viewing has been hypothesized to underlie visual pattern learning and memory in insects. To address the theory of retinotopic matching, a detailed analysis was made of the flies' body orientations during learned discriminations between +45 degrees and -45 degrees gratings. Initial approaches to the positive rewarded visual cue did not originate from the same spatial location within the behavioral arena with respect to the visual cues; thus, individual flies approached the positive cue from a different vantage point from trial to trial. During initial approaches to the rewarded visual cue, the distributions of body angles with respect to the cue were different from trial to trial for each individual. These data suggest that Phaenicia sericata can learn a visual pattern with one eye region and later recognize the same pattern with another eye region. Thus, retinotopic matching is not necessary for the recognition of pattern orientation in the experimental paradigm used here. The average amount of head turning in the yaw plane was too small to compensate for the changes in body orientation exhibited by the flies. Flies view the visual patterns with distinct retinal regions from trial to trial during orientation discrimination.

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