Outdoor performance of a motion-sensitive neuron in the blowfly

Vision Res. 2001 Dec;41(27):3627-37. doi: 10.1016/s0042-6989(01)00220-6.


We studied an identified motion-sensitive neuron of the blowfly under outdoor conditions. The neuron was stimulated by oscillating the fly in a rural environment. We analysed whether the motion-induced neuronal activity is affected by brightness changes ranging between bright sunlight and dusk. In addition, the relationship between spike rate and ambient temperature was determined. The main results are: (1) The mean spike rate elicited by visual motion is largely independent of brightness changes over several orders of magnitude as they occur as a consequence of positional changes of the sun. Even during dusk the neuron responds strongly and directionally selective to motion. (2) The neuronal spike rate is not significantly affected by short-term brightness changes caused by clouds temporarily occluding the sun. (3) In contrast, the neuronal activity is much affected by changes in ambient temperature.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Ocular / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Diptera / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Lighting
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Temperature