Long-range neural inhibition and stimulus competition in the archerfish optic tectum

Svetlana Volotsky, Ehud Vinepinsky, Opher Donchin, Ronen Segev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The archerfish, which is unique in its ability to hunt insects above the water level by shooting a jet of water at its prey, operates in a complex visual environment. The fish needs to quickly select one object from among many others. In animals other than the archerfish, long-range inhibition is considered to drive selection. As a result of long-range inhibition, a potential target outside a neuron’s receptive field suppresses the activity elicited by another potential target within the receptive field. We tested whether a similar mechanism operates in the archerfish by recording the activity of neurons in the optic tectum while presenting a target stimulus inside the receptive field and a competing stimulus outside the receptive field. We held the features of the target constant while varying the size, speed, and distance of the competing stimulus. We found cells that exhibit long-range inhibition; i.e., inhibition that extends to a significant part of the entire visual field of the animal. The competing stimulus depressed the firing rate. In some neurons, this effect was dependent on the features of the competing stimulus. These findings suggest that long-range inhibition may play a crucial role in the target selection process in the archerfish.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-552
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2019


  • Archerfish
  • Electrophysiology
  • Neural inhibition
  • Selection
  • Stimulus competition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Long-range neural inhibition and stimulus competition in the archerfish optic tectum'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this