There is a mismatch between the documentation of the visually guided behaviors and visual physiology of decapods (Malacostraca, Crustacea) and knowledge about the neural architecture of their visual systems. The present study provides a description of the neuroanatomical features of the four visual neuropils of the grapsid crab Chasmagnathus granulatus, which is currently used as a model for investigating the neurobiology of learning and memory. Visual memory in Chasmagnathus is thought to be driven from within deep retinotopic neuropil by large-field motion-sensitive neurons. Here we describe the neural architecture characterizing the Chasmagnathus lobula, in which such neurons are found. It is shown that, unlike the equivalent region of insects, the malacostracan lobula is densely packed with columns, the spacing of which is the same as that of retinotopic units of the lamina. The lobula comprises many levels of strata and columnar afferents that supply systems of tangential neurons. Two of these, which are known to respond to movement across the retina, have orthogonally arranged dendritic fields deep in the lobula. They also show evidence of dye coupling. We discuss the significance of commonalties across taxa with respect to the organization of the lamina and medulla and contrasts these with possible taxon-specific arrangements of deeper neuropils that support systems of matched filters.
- Learning and memory
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