Temperature-dependence of neuronal performance in the motion pathway of the blowfly calliphora erythrocephala

J Exp Biol. 1999 Nov:202 Pt 22:3161-70. doi: 10.1242/jeb.202.22.3161.


Raising the head temperature within a behaviourally relevant range has strong effects on the performance of an identified neuron, the H1 neuron, in the visual motion pathway of blowflies. The effect is seen as an increase in the mean amplitude of the responses to motion under both transient and steady-state conditions, a considerable decrease in the response latency and an improvement in the reliability of the responses to motion. These temperature-dependent effects are independent of whether the animal is exposed to transient temperature changes or is maintained continuously at the same temperature for its entire life. The changes in the neuronal response properties with temperature may be of immediate functional significance for the animal under its normal operating conditions. In particular, the decrease in latency and the improvement in the reliability with increasing temperature may be relevant for the fly when executing its extremely virtuosic flight manoeuvres.