1. Neuroscience
Download icon

Navigation: Why flies look to the skies

  1. Stanley Heinze  Is a corresponding author
  1. Lund Vision Group and NanoLund, Lund University, Sweden
Cite this article as: eLife 2021;10:e68684 doi: 10.7554/eLife.68684
1 figure


The polarization vision pathway in the brain of Drosophila.

Top: Light from the Sun is polarized when it is scattered by the sky. When the angle of polarization is plotted at different positions on the sky, it forms concentric circles around the Sun (also shown in the background of this figure). Therefore, if an organism can determine the polarization pattern of light from the sky, it can use this information to navigate, even if it cannot see the Sun. Bottom: In Drosophila information about the polarization of light is collected by specialized structures in the dorsal rim area of the eye (not shown) and then transmitted along a dedicated pathway (purple) to the central complex, where it is combined with a representation of the fly’s heading based on the visual panorama. The signals from each eye pass through the dorsal rim region of the medulla, the anterior optic tubercle, and then through the bulbs before reaching the central complex.

Download links

A two-part list of links to download the article, or parts of the article, in various formats.

Downloads (link to download the article as PDF)

Download citations (links to download the citations from this article in formats compatible with various reference manager tools)

Open citations (links to open the citations from this article in various online reference manager services)