Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 173, Issue 3, pp 287–308 | Cite as

Some peculiar synaptic complexes in the first visual ganglion of the fly, Musca domestica

  • W. Burkhardt
  • V. Braitenberg


In the lamina ganglionaris, the first optic ganglion of the fly, the inventory of cell types as well as the patterns of their connections are well known from light microscopic investigations. Even the synaptic contacts are known with relative completeness. However, the structural details visible on electron micrographs are very difficult to interpret in functional terms. This paper concentrates on two aspects: 1) the synaptic complex between a retinula cell axon and four postsynaptic elements, arranged in a constant elongated array (it is suggested that all synapses in which the retinula cell is presynaptic are of this kind), and 2) the “gnarl” complex in which a presynaptic specialization in one neuron is separated from another neuron by a complicated glial invagination. The participation of glia at postsynaptic sites seems to be quite common in this ganglion. Occasionally it seems that a glia cell is the only postsynaptic partner facing a presynaptic specialization within a neuron.

Key words

Synaptic complexes First visual ganglion Electron microscopy Fly, Musca domestica 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Burkhardt
    • 1
  • V. Braitenberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für biologische KybernetikTübingenGermany

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