Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Robert Olberg




field, response, center, receptive, neurons


Dragonflies are known to have highly sophisticated visual processing systems, allowing precise flight control and incredibly accurate prey capture (Olberg et al., 2000). These processes are mediated by a group of neurons known as Target Selective Descending Neurons, or TSDNs. Of the TSDNs, MDT3 and DIT3 are known to respond to objects expanding into the animal’s field of view, otherwise known as looming objects. Through the use of intracellular electrical recording, we aimed to understand how these two neurons work together to scan the entire visual field, as well as how they respond to objects on a trajectory to miss the animal. We found that MDT3 and DIT3 share the workload roughly evenly, with each neuron responding best to objects in its receptive field. Further, each neuron responded more robustly in response to stimuli on course to miss the animal, rather than those on a collision trajectory. This leads us to the conclusion that MDT3 and DIT3 are tasked with confirming that the animal is on the correct path to intersect a prey object, and if it is not, to provide information about the last-second flight path corrections that must be made.