Neural specializations for small target detection in insects

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    38 Citations (Scopus)


    Despite being equipped with low-resolution eyes and tiny brains, many insects show exquisite abilities to detect and pursue targets even in highly textured surrounds. Target tracking behavior is subserved by neurons that are sharply tuned to the motion of small high-contrast targets. These neurons respond robustly to target motion, even against self-generated optic flow. A recent model, supported by neurophysiology, generates target selectivity by being sharply tuned to the unique spatiotemporal profile associated with target motion. Target neurons are likely connected in a complex network where some provide more direct output to behavior, whereas others serve an inter-regulatory role. These interactions may regulate attention and aid in the robust detection of targets in clutter observed in behavior.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)272-278
    Number of pages7
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


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