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Vision Res. 2001 Dec;41(27):3627-37.

Outdoor performance of a motion-sensitive neuron in the blowfly.

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Lehrstuhl für Neurobiologie, Fakultät für Biologie, Universität Bielefeld, Postfach 10 01 31, D-33501 Bielefeld, Germany.


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.

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