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J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol. 2007 Mar;193(3):371-84. Epub 2006 Dec 2.

Orientation by polarized light in the crayfish dorsal light reflex: behavioral and neurophysiological studies.

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Department of Biochemistry, Rice University, Houston, TX, USA.


In decapod crustaceans, the dorsal light reflex rotates the eyestalk so that the dorsal retina faces the brightest segment of dorsal visual space. Stepwise displacements of white stripes elicit eyestalk rotations in the same direction as that of the stripe. Conversely, stepwise displacements of black stripes on a white background elicit eyestalk rotations in the opposite direction as that of the stripe. The reversal of the response with contrast inversion distinguishes the dorsal light reflex from an optokinetic reflex. When the visual scene is composed of polarized light, segmented by variations in e-vector orientation, displacement of segments containing near vertical e-vectors elicit responses similar to those elicited by a white stripe. Displacement of polarized stripes containing near horizontal e-vectors elicit eyestalk rotations similar to those elicited by a black stripe. The results are consistent with the use of polarized light in orientation. The stimulus conditions described above were also applied to visual interneurons (sustaining fibers) and oculomotor neurons and the results were generally in accord with the behavior. In the neural studies, it was possible to show that responses to polarized stripe displacements are predictable from the receptive field location and the neuron's polarization tuning function.

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