High-precision Repetitive Firing in the Insect Optic Lobe and a Hypothesis for its Function in Object Location

Abstract

WE have encountered, in the optic lobe of the insect Calliphora erythrocephala, a layer of elements firing spontaneously at a very constant rate of about 50 spikes per sec. The observed waveform depends on the position of the pick-up electrode and on the temperature, bnt in a given spike-train the rise-time is constant within 20 µsec. A photograph of a typical spike is shown in Fig. 1, In these experiments (more than a hundred), the animals were intact except for a small window cut in the back of the head, and were able to survive for many hours. Several different types of electrodes have been used for recording, for example, Pt-Ir glass-coated electrodes and either KCl-filled or metal-filled pipettes (tip diameter 10–15µ). Both single-ended and differential pre-amplifiers, with direct as well as capacitive interstage coupling, were used. We used batteries as well as mains-fed power supplies. Checks were performed with electrometer tube input whereby the grid current was less than 10−12 amp.

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  1. 1

    Horn, G., Nature, 194, 1084 (1962).

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KUIPER, J., LEUTSCHER-HAZELHOFF, J. High-precision Repetitive Firing in the Insect Optic Lobe and a Hypothesis for its Function in Object Location. Nature 206, 1158–1160 (1965). https://doi.org/10.1038/2061158b0

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