Norbert Boeddeker

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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)
Lateralization is a well-described phenomenon in humans and other vertebrates and there are interesting parallels across a variety of different vertebrate species. However, there are only a few studies of lateralization in invertebrates. In a recent report, we showed lateralization of olfactory learning in the honeybee (Apis mellifera). Here, we investigate(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)
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)
During courtship, male blowflies perform aerobatic pursuits that rank among the fastest visual behaviours that can be observed in nature. The viewing strategies during pursuit behaviour of blowflies appear to be very similar to eye movements during pursuit in primates: a combination of smooth pursuit and catch-up saccades. Whereas in primates these two(More)
Within the body, individual cells are subsumed into larger fields of hundreds or thousands of cells that communicate to each other when to proliferate, differentiate or die. When the molecular mechanisms by which these conversations take place are elucidated, this will greatly advance our understanding of human disease, I think. Another big question is how(More)