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A Novel Interception Strategy in a Miniature Robber Fly with Extreme Visual Acuity
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2017 (English)In: Current Biology, ISSN 0960-9822, E-ISSN 1879-0445, Vol. 27, no 6, p. 854-859, article id S0960-9822(17)30085-4Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Our visual system allows us to rapidly identify and intercept a moving object. When this object is far away, we base the trajectory on the target's location relative to an external frame of reference [1]. This process forms the basis for the constant bearing angle (CBA) model, a reactive strategy that ensures interception since the bearing angle, formed between the line joining pursuer and target (called the range vector) and an external reference line, is held constant [2-4]. The CBA model may be a fundamental and widespread strategy, as it is also known to explain the interception trajectories of bats and fish [5, 6]. Here, we show that the aerial attack of the tiny robber fly Holcocephala fusca is consistent with the CBA model. In addition, Holcocephala fusca displays a novel proactive strategy, termed "lock-on" phase, embedded with the later part of the flight. We found the object detection threshold for this species to be 0.13°, enabled by an extremely specialized, forward pointing fovea (∼5 ommatidia wide, interommatidial angle Δφ = 0.28°, photoreceptor acceptance angle Δρ = 0.27°). This study furthers our understanding of the accurate performance that a miniature brain can achieve in highly demanding sensorimotor tasks and suggests the presence of equivalent mechanisms for target interception across a wide range of taxa.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 27, no 6, p. 854-859, article id S0960-9822(17)30085-4
Keywords [en]
flight, interception strategy, invertebrate, moving target, predation, retina, spatial resolution, tracking, vision
National Category
Behavioral Sciences Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-342279DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.01.050PubMedID: 28286000OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-342279DiVA, id: diva2:1183940
Available from: 2018-02-20 Created: 2018-02-20 Last updated: 2018-03-15Bibliographically approved

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