Distinct Acute Zones for Visual Stimuli in Different Visual Tasks in Drosophila

2013-04-09T02:20:23Z (GMT) by Xing Yang Aike Guo

The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has a sophisticated visual system and exhibits complex visual behaviors. Visual responses, vision processing and higher cognitive processes in Drosophila have been studied extensively. However, little is known about whether the retinal location of visual stimuli can affect fruit fly performance in various visual tasks. We tested the response of wild-type Berlin flies to visual stimuli at several vertical locations. Three paradigms were used in our study: visual operant conditioning, visual object fixation and optomotor response. We observed an acute zone for visual feature memorization in the upper visual field when visual patterns were presented with a black background. However, when a white background was used, the acute zone was in the lower visual field. Similar to visual feature memorization, the best locations for visual object fixation and optomotor response to a single moving stripe were in the lower visual field with a white background and the upper visual field with a black background. The preferred location for the optomotor response to moving gratings was around the equator of the visual field. Our results suggest that different visual processing pathways are involved in different visual tasks and that there is a certain degree of overlap between the pathways for visual feature memorization, visual object fixation and optomotor response.