We studied the Ca2+ dynamics of odour-evoked glomerular patterns in the antennal lobe of the moth Spodoptera littoralis using optical imaging. Here we selectively stained a large population of antennal lobe output neurones, projection neurones, by retrograde filling with FURA-dextran from the inner antennocerebral tract in the protocerebrum. Different plant-associated odorants evoked distributed patterns of activated glomeruli that were odour dependent and repeatable. These patterns were, however, dynamic during the period of odour exposure. Temporal responses differed across glomeruli and were stimulus dependent. Next we examined how the correlations between patterns evoked by different odorants changed with time. Initially, responses to structurally similar compounds were highly correlated, whereas responses to structurally different compounds differed. Within the period of odour exposure (1 s) we found a significant reduction in similarity of responses evoked by different odours, irrespective of initial similarity, whereas trial-to-trial correlations remained high. Our results suggested an ability for coarse classification at the initial encounter with an odour source. With time, however, the discrimination ability increases and structurally similar odours can be distinguished.