Structural organization of male-specific visual neurons in calliphorid optic lobes

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55 Scopus citations


The superiority of male flies over female flies in locating and intercepting small rapidly moving targets has been ascribed to differences in their visual systems. In males, this sexual dimorphism is externally expressed by an area of high visual acuity called the acute zone. Selective cobalt uptake reveals 12 types of male-specific visual interneurons in the male lobula, the axons of which terminate in neuropil supplying premotor descending neurons to neck and flight motor circuits. The dendritic fields of the individual male-specific neurons can be extrapolated out into visual space to demonstrate that each is assigned a discrete area of the visual panorama. The dendritic fields of 10 of the 12 male-specific neurons subtend areas of the retina associated with the male acute zone. The functional significance of male-specific neurons is discussed with respect to their putative receptive field and a model circuit for target location by male flies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-393
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1991


  • Calliphora
  • Compound eye
  • Sarcophaga
  • Sexual dimorphism
  • Vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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