Visual navigation: properties, acquisition and use of views

Jochen Zeil*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    Panoramic views offer information on heading direction and on location to visually navigating animals. This review covers the properties of panoramic views and the information they provide to navigating animals, irrespective of image representation. Heading direction can be retrieved by alignment matching between memorized and currently experienced views, and a gradient descent in image differences can lead back to the location at which a view was memorized (positional image matching). Central place foraging insects, such as ants, bees and wasps, conduct distinctly choreographed learning walks and learning flights upon first leaving their nest that are likely to be designed to systematically collect scene memories tagged with information provided by path integration on the direction of and the distance to the nest. Equally, traveling along routes, ants have been shown to engage in scanning movements, in particular when routes are unfamiliar, again suggesting a systematic process of acquiring and comparing views. The review discusses what we know and do not know about how view memories are represented in the brain of insects, how they are acquired and how they are subsequently used for traveling along routes and for pinpointing places.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)499-514
    Number of pages16
    JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


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