Thursday, 21 October 2021

Thousands of small lenses work together

Seen from the front, the head of the honeybee has a triangular shape, the head of the drone it is more round. On the head are the eyes, antennae and mouth parts. Important glands are located in the head and the main center of the nervous system: a nerve bud that serves as a brain.

Bees have two compound eyes (queen: 4000, worker: 5000, drone: 8000 lenses called facets). These facet eyes are sensitive to moving objects, but outlines are not perceived sharply (sharpness 1/100 of the human). Each facet works autonomous and independently of the other and consists of a (crystal) cone with accompanying retinal rod and together with the retinal cells, it forms an (elongated) ommatidium; one separate sub eye. The light rays that come together in an ommatidium are processed and sent to the (small) brain of the bee. Each facet lens takes care of a small part of the total field of view. In other words, each facet lens produces its own perceived part of the image fragment and all separately projected image fragments together form a (mosaic-like) image in the brain of the bee.

The bees perceive a different color spectrum than humans: bees can easily distinguish white, yellow and blue, they see red as black, humans cannot perceive ultraviolet. In addition to two facet eyes, bees also have three point eyes (ocelli) on the forehead. They measure the light and can thus observe the position of the sun while flying in order to orient themselves.

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