Recording from individual neurons in the fly’s nervous system, we can study how they respond to visual patterns moving in different directions, as shown in this video (listen to how the neuron is stimulated when the dot moves from right to left):

After presenting the same stimulus at different locations in the compound eye’s field of view, we can build up a picture of how the neuron responds to global motion patterns, known as optic flow. Some of the tangential cells, for example, respond to rotational optic flow:


Selected recent publications

Nutritional state modulates the neural processing of visual motion
Kit D Longden, Tomaso Muzzu, Daniel J Cook, Simon R Schultz, Holger G Krapp
Current Biology  (2014)

Sensor fusion in identified visual interneurons
Matthew M Parsons, Holger G Krapp, Simon B Laughlin
Current Biology  (2010)

Nonlinear integration of visual and haltere inputs in fly neck motor neurons
Stephen J Huston, Holger G Krapp
Journal of Neurophysiology  (2009)

State-dependent performance of optic-flow processing interneurons
Kit D Longden, Holger G Krapp
Journal of Neurophysiology  (2009)

Visuomotor transformation in the fly gaze stabilization system
Stephen J Huston, Holger G Krapp
PLoS Biology  (2008)