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Hornets Can Fly at Night without Obvious Adaptations of Eyes and Ocelli.

Kelber, Almut LU ; Jonsson, Fredrik; Wallén, Rita LU ; Warrant, Eric LU ; Kornfeldt, Torill LU and Baird, Emily LU (2011) In PLoS ONE 6(7).
Abstract
Hornets, the largest social wasps, have a reputation of being facultatively nocturnal. Here we confirm flight activity of hornet workers in dim twilight. We studied the eyes and ocelli of European hornets (Vespa crabro) and common wasps (Vespula vulgaris) with the goal to find the optical and anatomical adaptations that enable them to fly in dim light. Adaptations described for obligately nocturnal hymenoptera such as the bees Xylocopa tranquebarica and Megalopta genalis and the wasp Apoica pallens include large ocelli and compound eyes with wide rhabdoms and large facet lenses. Interestingly, we did not find any such adaptations in hornet eyes or ocelli. On the contrary, their eyes are even less sensitive than those of the obligately... (More)
Hornets, the largest social wasps, have a reputation of being facultatively nocturnal. Here we confirm flight activity of hornet workers in dim twilight. We studied the eyes and ocelli of European hornets (Vespa crabro) and common wasps (Vespula vulgaris) with the goal to find the optical and anatomical adaptations that enable them to fly in dim light. Adaptations described for obligately nocturnal hymenoptera such as the bees Xylocopa tranquebarica and Megalopta genalis and the wasp Apoica pallens include large ocelli and compound eyes with wide rhabdoms and large facet lenses. Interestingly, we did not find any such adaptations in hornet eyes or ocelli. On the contrary, their eyes are even less sensitive than those of the obligately diurnal common wasps. Therefore we conclude that hornets, like several facultatively nocturnal bee species such as Apis mellifera adansonii, A. dorsata and X. tenuiscapa are capable of seeing in dim light simply due to the large body and thus eye size. We propose that neural pooling strategies and behavioural adaptations precede anatomical adaptations in the eyes and ocelli when insects with apposition compound eyes turn to dim light activity. (Less)
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author
organization
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type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
PLoS ONE
volume
6
issue
7
publisher
Public Library of Science
external identifiers
  • wos:000292699000015
  • pmid:21765923
  • scopus:79960156827
ISSN
1932-6203
DOI
10.1371/journal.pone.0021892
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
e17845ea-526e-4ad9-83ef-333aa1cbdc48 (old id 2058563)
date added to LUP
2011-07-27 10:06:48
date last changed
2017-02-26 03:45:18
@article{e17845ea-526e-4ad9-83ef-333aa1cbdc48,
  abstract     = {Hornets, the largest social wasps, have a reputation of being facultatively nocturnal. Here we confirm flight activity of hornet workers in dim twilight. We studied the eyes and ocelli of European hornets (Vespa crabro) and common wasps (Vespula vulgaris) with the goal to find the optical and anatomical adaptations that enable them to fly in dim light. Adaptations described for obligately nocturnal hymenoptera such as the bees Xylocopa tranquebarica and Megalopta genalis and the wasp Apoica pallens include large ocelli and compound eyes with wide rhabdoms and large facet lenses. Interestingly, we did not find any such adaptations in hornet eyes or ocelli. On the contrary, their eyes are even less sensitive than those of the obligately diurnal common wasps. Therefore we conclude that hornets, like several facultatively nocturnal bee species such as Apis mellifera adansonii, A. dorsata and X. tenuiscapa are capable of seeing in dim light simply due to the large body and thus eye size. We propose that neural pooling strategies and behavioural adaptations precede anatomical adaptations in the eyes and ocelli when insects with apposition compound eyes turn to dim light activity.},
  articleno    = {e21892},
  author       = {Kelber, Almut and Jonsson, Fredrik and Wallén, Rita and Warrant, Eric and Kornfeldt, Torill and Baird, Emily},
  issn         = {1932-6203},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {7},
  publisher    = {Public Library of Science},
  series       = {PLoS ONE},
  title        = {Hornets Can Fly at Night without Obvious Adaptations of Eyes and Ocelli.},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0021892},
  volume       = {6},
  year         = {2011},
}