Texture dependence of motion sensing and free flight behavior in blowflies

Lindemann JP, Egelhaaf M (2013)
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 6.

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Journal Article | Published | English
Abstract
Many flying insects exhibit an active flight and gaze strategy: purely translational flight segments alternate with quick turns called saccades. To generate such a saccadic flight pattern, the animals decide the timing, direction, and amplitude of the next saccade during the previous translatory intersaccadic interval. The information underlying these decisions is assumed to be extracted from the retinal image displacements (optic flow), which scale with the distance to objects during the intersaccadic flight phases. In an earlier study we proposed a saccade-generation mechanism based on the responses of large-field motion-sensitive neurons. In closed-loop simulations we achieved collision avoidance behavior in a limited set of environments but observed collisions in others. Here we show by open-loop simulations that the cause of this observation is the known texture-dependence of elementary motion detection in flies, reflected also in the responses of large-field neurons as used in our model. We verified by electrophysiological experiments that this result is not an artifact of the sensory model. Already subtle changes in the texture may lead to qualitative differences in the responses of both our model cells and their biological counterparts in the fly's brain. Nonetheless, free flight behavior of blowflies is only moderately affected by such texture changes. This divergent texture dependence of motion-sensitive neurons and behavioral performance suggests either mechanisms that compensate for the texture dependence of the visual motion pathway at the level of the circuits generating the saccadic turn decisions or the involvement of a hypothetical parallel pathway in saccadic control that provides the information for collision avoidance independent of the textural properties of the environment.
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Article Processing Charge funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Open Access Publication Fund of Bielefeld University.
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Lindemann JP, Egelhaaf M. Texture dependence of motion sensing and free flight behavior in blowflies. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. 2013;6.
Lindemann, J. P., & Egelhaaf, M. (2013). Texture dependence of motion sensing and free flight behavior in blowflies. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 6.
Lindemann, J. P., and Egelhaaf, M. (2013). Texture dependence of motion sensing and free flight behavior in blowflies. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 6.
Lindemann, J.P., & Egelhaaf, M., 2013. Texture dependence of motion sensing and free flight behavior in blowflies. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 6.
J.P. Lindemann and M. Egelhaaf, “Texture dependence of motion sensing and free flight behavior in blowflies”, Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, vol. 6, 2013.
Lindemann, J.P., Egelhaaf, M.: Texture dependence of motion sensing and free flight behavior in blowflies. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. 6, (2013).
Lindemann, Jens Peter, and Egelhaaf, Martin. “Texture dependence of motion sensing and free flight behavior in blowflies”. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 6 (2013).
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