Open Access Open Badges Research article

High speed coding for velocity by archerfish retinal ganglion cells

Viola Kretschmer1, Friedrich Kretschmer2, Malte T Ahlers1 and Josef Ammermüller1*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Biology and Environmental Sciences, Neurobiology, University of Oldenburg, 26111, Oldenburg, Germany

2 Department of Biology and Environmental Sciences, Computational Neuroscience, University of Oldenburg, 26111, Oldenburg, Germany

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Citation and License

BMC Neuroscience 2012, 13:69  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-13-69

Published: 18 June 2012



Archerfish show very short behavioural latencies in response to falling prey. This raises the question, which response parameters of retinal ganglion cells to moving stimuli are best suited for fast coding of stimulus speed and direction.


We compared stimulus reconstruction quality based on the ganglion cell response parameters latency, first interspike interval, and rate. For stimulus reconstruction of moving stimuli using latency was superior to using the other stimulus parameters. This was true for absolute latency, with respect to stimulus onset, as well as for relative latency, with respect to population response onset. Iteratively increasing the number of cells used for reconstruction decreased the calculated error close to zero.


Latency is the fastest response parameter available to the brain. Therefore, latency coding is best suited for high speed coding of moving objects. The quantitative data of this study are in good accordance with previously published behavioural response latencies.

Retina; Ganglion cells; Rate coding; Latency coding