Photoreceptor visual fields, ommatidial array, and receptor axon projections in the polarisation-sensitive dorsal rim area of the cricket compound eye
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We made intracellular recordings from the photoreceptors of the polarisation-sensitive dorsal rim area of the cricket compound eye combined with dye marking. By measuring visual field sizes and optical axes in different parts of the dorsal rim area, we assessed the optical properties of the ommatidia. Due to the large angular sensitivities (median about 20°) and the high sampling frequency (about 1 per degree), the visual fields overlap extensively, such that a given portion of the sky is viewed simultaneously by a large number of ommatidia. By comparing the dye markings in the retina and in the optic lobe, the axon projections of the retinula cells were examined. Receptors R1, R2, R5 and R6 project to the lamina, whereas R7 projects to the medulla. The microvilli orientation of the two projection types differ by 90° indicating the two analyser channels that give antagonistic input to polarisation-sensitive interneurons. Using the retinal marking pattern as an indicator for the quality of the intracellular recordings, the polarisation sensitivity of the photoreceptors was re-examined. The polarisation sensitivity of recordings from dye-coupled cells was much lower (median: 4.5) than that of recordings in which only one cell was marked (median: 9.8), indicating that artefactual electrical coupling between photoreceptors can significantly deteriorate polarisation sensitivity. The physiological value of polarisation sensitivity in the cricket dorsal rim area is thus typically about 10.
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