The lobula plate (LP), which is the third order optic neuropil of flies, houses wide-field neurons which are exquisitely sensitive to motion. Among Diptera, motion-sensitive neurons of larger flies have been studied at the anatomical and physiological levels. However, the neurons ofDrosophila lobula plate are relatively less explored. AsDrosophila permits a genetic analysis of neural functions, we have analysed the organization of lobula plate ofDrosophila melanogaster.
Neurons belonging to eight anatomical classes have been observed in the present study. Three neurons of the horizontal system (HS) have been visualized. The HS north (HSN) neuron, occupying the dorsal lobula plate is stunted in its geometry compared to that of larger flies. Associated with the HS neurons, thinner horizontal elements known as h-cells have also been visualized in the present study. Five of the six known neurons of the vertical system (VS) have been visualized. Three additional neurons in the proximal LP comparable in anatomy to VS system have been stained. We have termed them as additional VS AVS)-like neurons. Three thinner tangential cells that are comparable to VS neurons, which are elements of twin vertical system (tvs); and two cells with wide dendritic fields comparable to CH neurons of Diptera have been also observed. Neurons comparable to VS cells but with ‘tufted’ dendrites have been stained. The HSN and VS1-VS2 neurons are dorsally stunted. This is possibly due to the shape of the compound eye ofDrosophila which is reduced in the fronto-dorsal region as compared to larger flies