Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 156, Issue 4, pp 525–538 | Cite as

Maps of the acute zones of fly eyes

  • M. F. Land
  • H. Eckert


  1. 1.

    The directions of the axes of all ommatidia in the frontal eye regions of 2 species of fly (Calliphora erythrocephala andLucilia cuprina, both sexes) were mapped onto the surface of a sphere. This was done by photographing the pseudopupil in white-eyed mutants.

  2. 2.

    In both sexes of both species there is a region with a high density of ommatidial axes (an acute zone), situated frontally and slightly above the equator. In females the centre of this region is only about 5° above the equator (Lucilia andCalliphora); its location is similar in maleLucilia, but is 15° higher in maleCalliphora. The maximum density of ommatidial axes is about 1 per deg2 inLucilia (both sexes) andCalliphora males; it is lower inCalliphora females (0.7 per deg2). These densities are roughly 3 times higher than at 60° from the front.

  3. 3.

    We have used the data given by Beersma et al. (1975), to produce a similar map for a maleMusca domestica. The results differ from the other species mainly in that the overall density is lower, the maximum being 0.4 axes per deg2, 20–25° above the equator.

  4. 4.

    Using these data and others from the literature we arrive at the following conclusions: (i) the regions of highest resolution and highest ommatidial diameter coincide closely, (ii) the region of greatest binocular overlap lies well above the centre of the acute zone, 20° higher in maleCalliphora. (iii) the ‘7r domain’ in maleMusca (Hardie et al. 1981) corresponds closely with the acute zone, (iv) the fields of view of the male-specific lobula interneurones MLG3 and Col D (Hausen and Strausfeld 1980) include the acute zone centre but also most of the dorsal part of the field of view. This is consistent with a function related to chasing.

  5. 5.

    Differences in function of male and female acute zones are discussed. It seems likely that there are two kinds of acute zone in insect eyes, one concerned with forward flight and the other with the detection and capture of other insects. We also argue that ‘fovea’ should not be used to mean a region of high ommatidial axis density.



High Resolution Zone Centre Maximum Density Dorsal Part Forward Flight 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. F. Land
    • 1
  • H. Eckert
    • 1
  1. 1.Research School of Biological Sciences - Neurobiology DepartmentThe Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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