Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 201, Issue 5, pp 427–440 | Cite as

Photoreceptor projections and receptive fields in the dorsal rim area and main retina of the locust eye

  • Fabian Schmeling
  • Jennifer Tegtmeier
  • Michiyo Kinoshita
  • Uwe Homberg
Original Paper


In many insect species, photoreceptors of a small dorsal rim area of the eye are specialized for sensitivity to the oscillation plane of polarized skylight and, thus, serve a role in sky compass orientation. To further understand peripheral mechanisms of polarized-light processing in the optic lobe, we have studied the projections of photoreceptors and their receptive fields in the main eye and dorsal rim area of the desert locust, a model system for polarization vision analysis. In both eye regions, one photoreceptor per ommatidium, R7, has a long visual fiber projecting through the lamina to the medulla. Axonal fibers from R7 receptors of the dorsal rim area have short side branches throughout the depth of the dorsal lamina and maintain retinotopic projections to the dorsal medulla following the first optic chiasma. Receptive fields of dorsal rim photoreceptors are considerably larger (average acceptance angle 33°) than those of the main eye (average acceptance angle 2.04°) and, taken together, cover almost the entire sky. The data challenge previous reports of two long visual fibers per ommatidium in the main eye of the locust and provide data for future analysis of peripheral networks underlying polarization opponency in the locust brain.


Compound eye Dorsal rim area Receptive fields Photoreceptor projections Desert locust 



We are grateful to Dr. Erich Buchner (University of Würzburg) for donation of the anti-synapsin antibody. We thank Matthias Schön for technical assistance and Martina Kern, Jerome Beetz, and Johannes Schuh for maintaining the locust cultures. This work was supported by grants from Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (HO 950/20-1) to UH and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (#24570084) to MK.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabian Schmeling
    • 1
  • Jennifer Tegtmeier
    • 1
  • Michiyo Kinoshita
    • 2
  • Uwe Homberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Biology, Animal PhysiologyPhilipps University of MarburgMarburgGermany
  2. 2.Laboratory of NeuroethologySokendai (The Graduate University for Advanced Studies)HayamaJapan

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