Navigation Links
Tiny insect brains capable of huge feats
Date:6/11/2010

Insects may have tiny brains the size of a pinhead, but the latest research from the University of Adelaide shows just how clever they really are.

For the first time, researchers from the University's Discipline of Physiology have worked out how insects judge the speed of moving objects.

It appears that insect brain cells have additional mechanisms which can calculate how to make a controlled landing on a flower or reach a food source. This ability only works in a natural setting.

In a paper published in the international journal Current Biology, lead author David O'Carroll says insects have well identified brain cells dedicated to analysing visual motion, which are very similar to humans.

"It was previously not understood how a tiny insect brain could use multiple brain pathways to judge motion," Associate Professor O'Carroll says.

"We have known for many years that they can estimate the direction of moving objects but until now we have not known how they judge speed like other animals, including humans.

"It appears they take into account different light patterns in nature, such as a foggy morning or a sunny day, and their brain cells adapt accordingly.

"This mechanism in their brain enables them to distinguish moving objects in a wide variety of natural settings. It also highlights the fact that single neurons can exhibit extremely complex behaviour."

Assoc. Prof. O'Carroll co-authored the paper with Paul Barnett, a Physiology PhD student at the University of Adelaide, and Dr Karin Nrdstrom, a former Physiology Postdoctoral Fellow at Adelaide who is now based at Uppsala University in Sweden.

Their specific research is focused on how the brain makes sense of the world viewed by the eye, using the insect visual system as an important model.

"Insects are ideal for our research because their visual system accounts for as much as 30% of their mass, far more than most other animals," Assoc. Prof. O'Carroll says.

His team is collaborating with industry to develop artificial eyes in robots, mimicking human and insect vision.


'/>"/>

Contact: David O'Carroll
david.ocarroll@adelaide.edu.au
61-883-034-435
University of Adelaide
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Cycad plant depends on insect for multiple services
2. Solar panels can attract breeding water insects
3. Study uncovers optimal ecology of bioinsecticide
4. Disease caused by insect bites can be transmitted to children at birth
5. The kiss of death: Research targets lethal disease spread by insect that bites lips
6. Project fruit fly: What accounts for insect taste?
7. IVCC and Syngenta reach key insecticide development milestone
8. UC Riverside entomologists say biocontrol of insect pest in the Galapagos Islands is a major success
9. Plant growth aided by insect-feeding animals
10. New research indicates plants can grow quickly or ward off hungry insects, but not both
11. Insects and sex: Educational help from the museum
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Tiny insect brains capable of huge feats
(Date:2/13/2017)... , Feb. 13, 2017  RSA Conference -- RSA, ... that is designed to enhance fraud detection and ... in the RSA Fraud & Risk Intelligence Suite. ... to leverage additional insights from internal and external ... better protect their customers from targeted cybercrime attacks. ...
(Date:2/10/2017)... -- Research and Markets has announced the ... Scientific and Commercial Aspects" to their offering. ... Biomarkers play ... therapy for selection of treatment as well for monitoring the ... disease in modern medicine. Biochip/microarray technologies and next generation sequencing ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... YORK , Feb. 8, 2017 About ... individual,s voice to match it against a stored ... such as pitch, cadence, and tone are compared ... require minimal hardware installation, as most PCs already ... for different transactions. Voice recognition biometrics are most ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 21, 2017 , ... Okyanos Cell Therapy has ... part of their live events series, “Stem Cell Therapy: The Next Phase in the ... the 2013 Stem Cell Research and Therapy Act, Okyanos maintains a mission ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... , ... The Conference Forum has announced the launch of the 5th Annual ... 2017, at the Colonnade Hotel in Boston, MA. The CMO Summit is the only ... and support. , “The Chief Medical Officer faces a unique set of challenges at ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 22, 2017 , ... March 22, 2017...Council for ... another green revolution, one that utilizes technological innovation in smart, sustainable ways. Humans depend ... life such as aesthetics and environmental stability. This paper is the first in a ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... FRANCISCO , March 22, 2017   ... fastest growing genetic information companies, today announced the ... diagnosis of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) , ... leading lethal genetic disorders among infants as well ... in childhood. The new test, announced during the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: