Vision in flying insects

Current Opinion in Neurobiology
M Egelhaaf, Roland Kern

Abstract

Vision guides flight behaviour in numerous insects. Despite their small brain, insects easily outperform current man-made autonomous vehicles in many respects. Examples are the virtuosic chasing manoeuvres male flies perform as part of their mating behaviour and the ability of bees to assess, on the basis of visual motion cues, the distance travelled in a novel environment. Analyses at both the behavioural and neuronal levels are beginning to unveil reasons for such extraordinary capabilities of insects. One recipe for their success is the adaptation of visual information processing to the specific requirements of the behavioural tasks and to the specific spatiotemporal properties of the natural input.

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