The synaptic organization of visual interneurons in the lobula complex of flies. A light and electron microscopical study using silver-intensified cobalt-impregnations

Cell Tissue Res. 1980;208(3):371-87. doi: 10.1007/BF00233871.


The synaptic organization of three classes of cobalt-filled and silver-intensified visual interneurons in the lobula complex of the blowfly Calliphora (Col A cells, horizontal cells and vertical cells) was studied electron microscopically. The Col A cells are regularly spaced, columnar, small field neurons of the lobula, which constitute a plexus of arborizations at the posterior surface of the neuropil and the axons of which terminate in the ventrolateral protocerebrum. They show postsynaptic specializations in the distal layer of their lobula-arborizations and additional presynaptic sites in a more proximal layer; their axon terminals are presynaptic to large descending neurons projecting into the thoracic ganglion. The horizontal and vertical cells are giant tangential neurons, the arborizations of which cover the anterior and posterior surface of the lobula plate, respectively, and which terminate in the perioesophageal region of the protocerebrum. Both classes of these giant neurons were found to be postsynaptic in the lobula plate and pre- and postsynaptic at their axon terminals and axon collaterals. The significance of these findings with respect to the functional properties of the neurons investigated is discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / ultrastructure
  • Cobalt
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Diptera / ultrastructure*
  • Female
  • Interneurons / ultrastructure*
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Optic Lobe, Nonmammalian / ultrastructure
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Synapses / ultrastructure*
  • Synaptic Vesicles / ultrastructure


  • Cobalt