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Male blowflies chase and catch other flies in fast acrobatic flights. To unravel the underlying control system, we presented a black moving sphere instead of a real fly as a pursuit target. By varying the size and speed of the target, we were able to systematically analyse the decisive visual determinants that guide chasing behaviour. Flies pursue targets(More)
The retinal image flow a blowfly experiences in its daily life on the wing is determined by both the structure of the environment and the animal’s own movements. To understand the design of visual processing mechanisms, there is thus a need to analyse the performance of neurons under natural operating conditions. To this end, we recorded flight paths of(More)
The behavioural repertoire of male flies includes visually guided chasing after moving targets. The visuomotor control system for these pursuits belongs to the fastest found in the animal kingdom. We simulated a virtual fly, to test whether or not experimentally established hypotheses on the underlying control system are sufficient to explain chasing(More)
Honeybees turn their thorax and thus their flight motor to change direction or to fly sideways. If the bee's head were fixed to its thorax, such movements would have great impact on vision. Head movements independent of thorax orientation can stabilize gaze and thus play an important and active role in shaping the structure of the visual input the animal(More)
As animals travel through the environment, powerful reflexes help stabilize their gaze by actively maintaining head and eyes in a level orientation. Gaze stabilization reduces motion blur and prevents image rotations. It also assists in depth perception based on translational optic flow. Here we describe side-to-side flight manoeuvres in honeybees and(More)
Visual landmarks guide humans and animals including insects to a goal location. Insects, with their miniature brains, have evolved a simple strategy to find their nests or profitable food sources; they approach a goal by finding a close match between the current view and a memorised retinotopic representation of the landmark constellation around the goal.(More)
Nesting insects perform learning flights to establish a visual representation of the nest environment that allows them to subsequently return to the nest. It has remained unclear when insects learn what during these flights, what determines their overall structure, and, in particular, how what is learned is used to guide an insect's return. We analyzed(More)
Landing is a challenging aspect of flight because, to land safely, speed must be decreased to a value close to zero at touchdown. The mechanisms by which animals achieve this remain unclear. When landing on horizontal surfaces, honey bees control their speed by holding constant the rate of front-to-back image motion (optic flow) generated by the surface as(More)
Insects such as flies or bees, with their miniature brains, are able to control highly aerobatic flight maneuvres and to solve spatial vision tasks, such as avoiding collisions with obstacles, landing on objects, or even localizing a previously learnt inconspicuous goal on the basis of environmental cues. With regard to solving such spatial tasks, these(More)