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Photoreceptor signalling is sufficient to explain the detectability threshold of insect aerial pursuers

Rigosi, Elisa LU ; Wiederman, Steven D. and O'Carroll, David C. LU (2017) In Journal of Experimental Biology 220(23). p.4364-4369
Abstract

An essential biological task for many flying insects is the detection of small, moving targets, such as when pursuing prey or conspecifics. Neural pathways underlying such 'target-detecting' behaviours have been investigated for their sensitivity and tuning properties (size, velocity). However, which stage of neuronal processing limits target detection is not yet known. Here, we investigated several skilled, aerial pursuers (males of four insect species), measuring the targetdetection limit (signal-to-noise ratio) of light-adapted photoreceptors. We recorded intracellular responses to moving targets of varying size, extended well below the nominal resolution of single ommatidia. We found that the signal detection limit (2× photoreceptor... (More)

An essential biological task for many flying insects is the detection of small, moving targets, such as when pursuing prey or conspecifics. Neural pathways underlying such 'target-detecting' behaviours have been investigated for their sensitivity and tuning properties (size, velocity). However, which stage of neuronal processing limits target detection is not yet known. Here, we investigated several skilled, aerial pursuers (males of four insect species), measuring the targetdetection limit (signal-to-noise ratio) of light-adapted photoreceptors. We recorded intracellular responses to moving targets of varying size, extended well below the nominal resolution of single ommatidia. We found that the signal detection limit (2× photoreceptor noise) matches physiological or behavioural target-detection thresholds observed in each species. Thus, across a diverse range of flying insects, individual photoreceptor responses to changes in light intensity establish the sensitivity of the feature detection pathway, indicating later stages of processing are dedicated to feature tuning, tracking and selection.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Contrast sensitivity, Feature detection, Retina, Signal-to-noise ratio, Target detection, Vision
in
Journal of Experimental Biology
volume
220
issue
23
pages
6 pages
publisher
The Company of Biologists Ltd
external identifiers
  • scopus:85035348454
  • wos:000416423900014
ISSN
0022-0949
DOI
10.1242/jeb.166207
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
29081af4-193f-44c1-be85-9d5734ce26e7
date added to LUP
2017-12-12 07:42:23
date last changed
2018-01-16 13:27:32
@article{29081af4-193f-44c1-be85-9d5734ce26e7,
  abstract     = {<p>An essential biological task for many flying insects is the detection of small, moving targets, such as when pursuing prey or conspecifics. Neural pathways underlying such 'target-detecting' behaviours have been investigated for their sensitivity and tuning properties (size, velocity). However, which stage of neuronal processing limits target detection is not yet known. Here, we investigated several skilled, aerial pursuers (males of four insect species), measuring the targetdetection limit (signal-to-noise ratio) of light-adapted photoreceptors. We recorded intracellular responses to moving targets of varying size, extended well below the nominal resolution of single ommatidia. We found that the signal detection limit (2× photoreceptor noise) matches physiological or behavioural target-detection thresholds observed in each species. Thus, across a diverse range of flying insects, individual photoreceptor responses to changes in light intensity establish the sensitivity of the feature detection pathway, indicating later stages of processing are dedicated to feature tuning, tracking and selection.</p>},
  author       = {Rigosi, Elisa and Wiederman, Steven D. and O'Carroll, David C.},
  issn         = {0022-0949},
  keyword      = {Contrast sensitivity,Feature detection,Retina,Signal-to-noise ratio,Target detection,Vision},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {12},
  number       = {23},
  pages        = {4364--4369},
  publisher    = {The Company of Biologists Ltd},
  series       = {Journal of Experimental Biology},
  title        = {Photoreceptor signalling is sufficient to explain the detectability threshold of insect aerial pursuers},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/jeb.166207},
  volume       = {220},
  year         = {2017},
}