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 because it can be trained to respond to artificial targets and thus to provide valuable psychophysical data. Although much behavioral data have 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. In this article 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 activities of single cells, we first measure their retinotectal mapping. We then determine their receptive field properties such as size, selectivity for stimulus direction and orientation, tuning for spatial frequency, and tuning for temporal frequency. Finally, on the basis of 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 an essential basis for future investigations of information processing in the archer fish visual system.

publication date

  • January 1, 2013