The spatial frequency tuning of optic-flow-dependent behaviors in the bumblebee Bombus impatiens

Jonathan R. Dyhr, Charles M. Higgins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Insects use visual estimates of flight speed for a variety of behaviors, including visual navigation, odometry, grazing landings and flight speed control, but the neuronal mechanisms underlying speed detection remain unknown. Although many models and theories have been proposed for how the brain extracts the angular speed of the retinal image, termed optic flow, we lack the detailed electrophysiological and behavioral data necessary to conclusively support any one model. One key property by which different models of motion detection can be differentiated is their spatiotemporal frequency tuning. Numerous studies have suggested that optic-flow-dependent behaviors are largely insensitive to the spatial frequency of a visual stimulus, but they have sampled only a narrow range of spatial frequencies, have not always used narrowband stimuli, and have yielded slightly different results between studies based on the behaviors being investigated. In this study, we present a detailed analysis of the spatial frequency dependence of the centering response in the bumblebee Bombus impatiens using sinusoidal and square wave patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1643-1650
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2010


  • Bumblebee
  • Motion detection
  • Optic flow
  • Vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


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