Discrimination of features in natural scenes by a dragonfly neuron

The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
Steven D Wiederman, David C O'Carroll


Flying insects engage in spectacular high-speed pursuit of targets, requiring visual discrimination of moving objects against cluttered backgrounds. As a first step toward understanding the neural basis for this complex task, we used computational modeling of insect small target motion detector (STMD) neurons to predict responses to features within natural scenes and then compared this with responses recorded from an identified STMD neuron in the dragonfly brain (Hemicordulia tau). A surprising model prediction confirmed by our electrophysiological recordings is that even heavily cluttered scenes contain very few features that excite these neurons, due largely to their exquisite tuning for small features. We also show that very subtle manipulations of the image cause dramatic changes in the response of this neuron, because of the complex inhibitory and facilitatory interactions within the receptive field.


Jan 8, 2014·Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences·David C O'Carroll, Steven D Wiederman
Jun 13, 2015·Journal of the Royal Society, Interface·Zahra M BagheriDavid C O'Carroll
Aug 24, 2013·Current Biology : CB·Jacob W Aptekar, Mark A Frye
Jan 17, 2012·Current Opinion in Neurobiology·Karin Nordström
Dec 25, 2012·Current Biology : CB·Steven D Wiederman, David C O'Carroll
May 9, 2014·Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience·Thomas W UllrichMartin Egelhaaf
Jul 5, 2017·Bioinspiration & Biomimetics·Reuben Strydom, Mandyam V Srinivasan
Jan 24, 2017·Bioinspiration & Biomimetics·Zahra M BagheriDavid C O'Carroll
Jul 14, 2017·Journal of Neural Engineering·Zahra M BagheriSteven D Wiederman
Jul 26, 2017·ELife·Steven D WiedermanDavid C O'Carroll
Aug 26, 2020·Current Opinion in Insect Science·Benjamin Horatio LancerSteven D Wiederman
Mar 13, 2021·Arthropod Structure & Development·Nicholas J Strausfeld

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