Motion vision is independent of color in Drosophila

Satoko Yamaguchi, Reinhard Wolf, Claude Desplan, Martin Heisenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Whether motion vision uses color contrast is a controversial issue that has been investigated in several species, from insects to humans. We used Drosophila to answer this question, monitoring the optomotor response to moving color stimuli in WT and genetic variants. In the fly eye, a motion channel (outer photoreceptors R1-R6) and a color channel (inner photoreceptors R7 and R8) have been distinguished. With moving bars of alternating colors and high color contrast, a brightness ratio of the two colors can be found, at which the optomotor response is largely missing (point of equiluminance). Under these conditions, mutant flies lacking functional rhodopsin in R1-R6 cells do not respond at all. Furthermore, genetically eliminating the function of photoreceptors R7 and R8 neither alters the strength of the optomotor response nor shifts the point of equiluminance. We conclude that the color channel (R7/R8) does not contribute to motion detection as monitored by the optomotor response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4910-4915
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number12
StatePublished - Mar 25 2008


  • Apparent motion
  • Equiluminance
  • Motion detection
  • Opsin mutants
  • R7/R8 system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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