(ORDO NEWS) — The eyes of Drosophila sit motionless on the head and cannot turn separately from it.
Instead, insects shift their retinas to view their surroundings, track moving objects, or judge their distance accurately.
Unlike us, flies’ eyes cannot move independently of their heads. Meanwhile, this ability is extremely important and useful.
It allows you to track the movement of objects and continuously “scrabble” the environment due to small and imperceptible movements, microsaccades.
Therefore, some other animals whose eyes are fixed, such as spiders , rotate the retina instead. Scientists from Rockefeller University (USA) found the same feature in Drosophila.
Professor Gaby Maimon and her colleagues used fluorescent labels that were attached to the muscle cells of the flies.
This showed that in the eyes of these insects there are a pair of fibers that allow you to move the retina back and forth and up and down.
When scientists placed fruit flies in front of a panoramic screen and fixed their heads motionless, these fibers activated and shifted the retina to track the shapes moving on the screen.
Experiments also demonstrated saccadic movements of the retina when a stationary picture was shown to Drosophila.
Apparently, this increases the resolution of their vision. The same was shown in experiments on the “treadmill”.
Insects were placed on such a setup with small obstacles, and each time approaching one of them, the flies brought their retinas together, directing them to one point, as happens in people with strabismus.
If at the same time they used fruit flies with artificially hindered retinal movements, they overcame obstacles with great difficulty.
Most likely, the ability to bring them together allows you to more accurately estimate the distance to the object.
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