Robert Olberg, Union College


Robert Olberg, Union College

Sage 4101

November 14, 2012 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM



Dragonflies make their living by catching insects in flight.  This visually guided behavior appears to be mediated in part by 8 pairs of large neurons, called Target-Selective Descending Neurons (TSDNs), which project from the brain to the thoracic ganglia that control wing movements.  These visual neurons respond exclusively to the movement of small contrasting objects, and their activity elicits steering movements of the wings. 


High-speed video analysis of prey pursuit flights reveals that the dragonfly steers an interception course, its flight trajectory aiming at a point in front of the flying prey.  In my talk I will describe the way in which this interception trajectory may be guided by the TSDNs.  I will emphasize the role of prediction in this remarkably fast and precise behavior.

             Visual Control of prey-capture flight in dragonflies

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