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The impressive repertoire of honeybee visually guided behaviors, and their ability to learn has made them an important tool for elucidating the visual basis of behavior. Like other insects, bees perform optomotor course correction to optic flow, a response that is dependent on the spatial structure of the visual environment. However, bees can also distinguish the speed of image motion during forward flight and landing, as well as estimate flight distances (odometry), irrespective of the visual scene. The neural pathways underlying these abilities are unknown. Here we report on a cluster of descending neurons (DNIIIs) that are shown to have the directional tuning properties necessary for detecting image motion during forward flight and landing on vertical surfaces. They have stable firing rates during prolonged periods of stimulat...
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