The Ternus display is a moving visual stimulus which elicits two very different percepts, according to the length of the interstimulus interval (ISI) between each frame of the motion sequence. These two percepts, referred to as element motion and group motion, have previously been analysed in terms of the operation of a low-level, dedicated short-range motion process (in the case of element motion), and of a higher-level, attentional long-range motion process (in the case of group motion). We used a novel Ternus configuration to show that both element and group motion are, in fact, mediated solely by a process sensitive to changes in the spatial appearance of the Ternus elements. In light of this, it appears that Ternus displays tell us nothing about low-level motion processing, implying that previous studies using Ternus displays, for instance those dealing with dyslexia, require reinterpretation. Further manipulations of the Ternus display revealed that the orientation and spatial-frequency discrimination of the process underlying the analysis of Ternus displays is far worse than thresholds for spatial vision. We conclude that Ternus displays are analysed via a long-range motion, or feature-tracking, process, and that this process is distinct from spatial vision.