Motion-detecting circuits in flies: Coming into view

Marion Silies, Daryl M. Gohl, Thomas R. Clandinin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Visual motion cues provide animals with critical information about their environment and guide a diverse array of behaviors. The neural circuits that carry out motion estimation provide a well-constrained model system for studying the logic of neural computation. Through a confluence of behavioral, physiological, and anatomical experiments, taking advantage of the powerful genetic tools available in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, an outline of the neural pathways that compute visual motion has emerged. Here we describe these pathways, the evidence supporting them, and the challenges that remain in understanding the circuits and computations that link sensory inputs to behavior. Studies in flies and vertebrates have revealed a number of functional similarities between motion-processing pathways in different animals, despite profound differences in circuit anatomy and structure. The fact that different circuit mechanisms are used to achieve convergent computational outcomes sheds light on the evolution of the nervous system. ©

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-327
Number of pages21
JournalAnnual Review of Neuroscience
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Behavior
  • Drosophila
  • Evolution
  • Motion computation
  • Neurogenetics
  • Vision


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