We have been able to separate optic fibers in the eye of the eel Anguilla rostrata into two distinct classes on the basis of spatial summation properties. X fibers, the first class, are like X ganglion cells in the cat: they have null positions for contrast reversal sine gratings; they respond at the modulation frequency; and many have a strong surround mechanism. X fibers, the second class, respond with an "on-off" response to local stimulation, to diffuse light modulation, to coarse drifting gratings, and to contrast reversal gratings. We have put forward a model for the receptive field of X fibers which involves two subunits, with rectification before the subunits add their signals. This model accounts for many of the quirks of X fibers.
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