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J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol. 2015 May;201(5):427-40. doi: 10.1007/s00359-015-0990-y. Epub 2015 Feb 26.

Photoreceptor projections and receptive fields in the dorsal rim area and main retina of the locust eye.

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Faculty of Biology, Animal Physiology, Philipps University of Marburg, 35032, Marburg, Germany.


In many insect species, photoreceptors of a small dorsal rim area of the eye are specialized for sensitivity to the oscillation plane of polarized skylight and, thus, serve a role in sky compass orientation. To further understand peripheral mechanisms of polarized-light processing in the optic lobe, we have studied the projections of photoreceptors and their receptive fields in the main eye and dorsal rim area of the desert locust, a model system for polarization vision analysis. In both eye regions, one photoreceptor per ommatidium, R7, has a long visual fiber projecting through the lamina to the medulla. Axonal fibers from R7 receptors of the dorsal rim area have short side branches throughout the depth of the dorsal lamina and maintain retinotopic projections to the dorsal medulla following the first optic chiasma. Receptive fields of dorsal rim photoreceptors are considerably larger (average acceptance angle 33°) than those of the main eye (average acceptance angle 2.04°) and, taken together, cover almost the entire sky. The data challenge previous reports of two long visual fibers per ommatidium in the main eye of the locust and provide data for future analysis of peripheral networks underlying polarization opponency in the locust brain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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