(Image caption: Newly discovered neuron type (yellow) helps zebrafish to coordinate its eye and swimming movements. The image shows the blue-stained brain of a fish larva with the suggested position of the eyes. Credit: © Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology/Kubo)
How vision makes sure that little fish do not get carried away
Our eyes not only enable us to recognise objects; they also provide us with a continuous stream of information about our own movements. Whether we run, turn around, fall or sit still in a car – the world glides by us and leaves a characteristic motion trace on our retinas. Seemingly without effort, our brain calculates self-motion from this “optic flow”. This way, we can maintain a stable position and a steady gaze during our own movements. Together with biologists from the University of Freiburg, scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried near Munich have now discovered an array of new types of neurons, which help the brain of zebrafish to perceive, and compensate for, self-motion.
It is a zebra fish!
Close-ups of butterfly wing scales! You should definitely click on these images to get the full detail.
I’ve paired each amazing close-up (by macro photographer Linden Gledhill) with an image of the corresponding butterfly or moth. The featured lepidoptera* are (in order of appearance):
- Madagascar diadem Hypolimnas dexithea (photo by Michel-Georges Bernard)
- Comet moth Argema mittrei (photo by Axel Strauß)
- Sunset moth Chrysiridia rhipheus (photo from Wikimedia Commons)
- Giant Blue Morpho Morpho didius (photo by Didier Descouens, Muséum de Toulouse)
- Rippon’s Birdwing Troides hypolitus (photo by Robert Nash, Ulster Museum)
*Lepidoptera (the scientific order that includes moths and butterflies) means “scaly wing.” The scales get their color not from pigment - but from microscopic structures that manipulate light.
Artificial blood ‘will be manufactured in factories’
Wellcome Trust-funded stem cell research has produced red blood cells fit for transfusion into humans, paving the way for the mass production of blood.