Visual receptive field properties of cells in the optic tectum of the archer fish. Academic Article uri icon


  • The archer fish is well known for its extreme visual behavior in shooting water jets at prey hanging on vegetation above water. This fish is a promising model in the study of visual system function since it can be trained to respond to artificial targets and thus to provide valuable psychophysical data. While much behavioral data has indeed been collected over the past two decades, little is known about the functional organization of the main visual area supporting this visual behavior, namely the fish optic tectum. Here we focus on a fundamental aspect of this functional organization and provide a detailed analysis of receptive field properties of cells in the archer fish optic tectum. Using extracellular measurements to record single cells activities we first measure their retinotectal mapping. Then, we determine their receptive field properties such as size, selectivity for stimulus direction and orientation, tuning for spatial frequency, and tuning for temporal frequency. Finally, based on all these measurements, we demonstrate that optic tectum cells can be classified into three categories - orientation-tuned cells, direction-tuned cells, and direction agnostic cells. Our results provide essential basis for future investigations of information processing in the archer fish visual system.

publication date

  • August 1, 2013