Target detection in insects: optical, neural and behavioral optimizations

Paloma T. Gonzalez-Bellido, Samuel T. Fabian, Karin Nordström

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Motion vision provides important cues for many tasks. Flying insects, for example, may pursue small, fast moving targets for mating or feeding purposes, even when these are detected against self-generated optic flow. Since insects are small, with size-constrained eyes and brains, they have evolved to optimize their optical, neural and behavioral target visualization solutions. Indeed, even if evolutionarily distant insects display different pursuit strategies, target neuron physiology is strikingly similar. Furthermore, the coarse spatial resolution of the insect compound eye might actually be beneficial when it comes to detection of moving targets. In conclusion, tiny insects show higher than expected performance in target visualization tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-128
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent opinion in neurobiology
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Gaby Maimon for feedback on OGINs, Robert Olberg for feedback on the MS, AFOSR for funding to PGB and KN ( FA9550-15-1-0188 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016


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