Hummingbirds Process Motion in Unique Way, Study Shows

According to new examine published in a biography Current Biology, a pivotal area of a hummingbird mind processes suit in a unique, astonishing way.

The Anna’s hummingbird (Calypte anna). Image credit: Kevin Cole / CC BY 2.0.

The Anna’s hummingbird (Calypte anna). Image credit: Kevin Cole / CC BY 2.0.

The mind area in doubt is called a lentiformis mesencephali (LM), famous in mammals as a iota of a ocular tract.

“In all four-limbed vertebrates complicated to date, many of a neurons in this motion-detecting mind area are tuned to detect suit entrance from behind, such as would start for an imminent collision or when being pounded from behind by a predator,” pronounced Dr. Douglas Altshuler, an associate highbrow in a Department of Zoology during a University of British Columbia and analogous author of a study.

“We found that a LM responds really differently in hummingbirds,” he said.

“Instead of many neurons being tuned to back-to-front motion, roughly each neuron we found was tuned to a opposite direction.”

“We also found that these neurons were many manageable to really quick motion.”

Earlier studies showed that a LM in hummingbirds is lengthened in comparison to that of other birds. Researchers also knew that hummingbirds guard and scold for any teenager deposit in their position as they hover.

Those commentary had led scientists to advise that a hummingbird mind competence be specifically attuned to collect adult on delayed movements.

To exam that hypothesis, Dr. Altshuler and his colleagues available neural activity in a LMs of 6 adult masculine Anna’s hummingbirds (Calypte anna) and 10 adult masculine zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) as a birds watched computer-generated dots pierce in several directions.

Contrary to expectations, a recordings showed that hummingbirds are many supportive to quick visible motion.

What’s more, distinct other birds, a hummingbirds responded to transformation in any instruction about equally.

That is, their LM neurons aren’t specifically attuned to movements in a brazen instruction as in other animals.

The authors advise that their visible abilities might play a purpose in energetic behaviors, including rival interactions, high-speed courtship displays, and insect foraging.

“This examine provides constrained support for a supposition that a avian mind is specialized for moody and that hummingbirds are a absolute indication for examine stabilization algorithms,” pronounced examine co-author Andrea Gaede, also from a Department of Zoology during a University of British Columbia.

The group now skeleton to examine a response properties of other nuclei concerned in this visible motion-processing pathway, with a ultimate idea of bargain how neural activity in a hummingbird mind is translated into specific moody behaviors.


Andrea H. Gaede et al. Neurons Responsive to Global Visual Motion Have Unique Tuning Properties in Hummingbirds. Current Biology, published online Jan 5, 2017; doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.11.041