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Flight performance in night-flying sweat bees suffers at low light levels.

Theobald, Jamie LU ; Coates, Melissa LU ; Wcislo, WT and Warrant, Eric LU (2007) In Journal of Experimental Biology 210(22). p.4034-4042
Abstract
The sweat bee Megalopta (Hymenoptera: Halictidae), unlike most bees, flies in extremely dim light. And although nocturnal insects are often equipped with superposition eyes, which greatly enhance light capture, Megalopta performs visually guided flight with apposition eyes. We examined how light limits Megalopta's flight behavior by measuring flight times and corresponding light levels and comparing them with flight trajectories upon return to the nest. We found the average time to land increased in dim light, an effect due not to slow approaches, but to circuitous approaches. Some landings, however, were quite fast even in the dark. To explain this, we examined the flight trajectories and found that in dim light, landings became... (More)
The sweat bee Megalopta (Hymenoptera: Halictidae), unlike most bees, flies in extremely dim light. And although nocturnal insects are often equipped with superposition eyes, which greatly enhance light capture, Megalopta performs visually guided flight with apposition eyes. We examined how light limits Megalopta's flight behavior by measuring flight times and corresponding light levels and comparing them with flight trajectories upon return to the nest. We found the average time to land increased in dim light, an effect due not to slow approaches, but to circuitous approaches. Some landings, however, were quite fast even in the dark. To explain this, we examined the flight trajectories and found that in dim light, landings became increasingly error prone and erratic, consistent with repeated landing attempts. These data agree well with the premise that Megalopta uses visual summation, sacrificing acuity in order to see and fly at the very dimmest light intensities that its visual system allows. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
flight, nocturnal vision, apposition eye, visual summation, arthropoda, invertebrate, insecta
in
Journal of Experimental Biology
volume
210
issue
22
pages
4034 - 4042
publisher
The Company of Biologists Ltd
external identifiers
  • wos:000251108100020
  • scopus:37249086593
ISSN
1477-9145
DOI
10.1242/jeb.003756
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
78654f48-b2c6-4ce7-bb0d-d7035ece4aaf (old id 761124)
date added to LUP
2007-12-19 15:03:07
date last changed
2017-02-26 03:26:40
@article{78654f48-b2c6-4ce7-bb0d-d7035ece4aaf,
  abstract     = {The sweat bee Megalopta (Hymenoptera: Halictidae), unlike most bees, flies in extremely dim light. And although nocturnal insects are often equipped with superposition eyes, which greatly enhance light capture, Megalopta performs visually guided flight with apposition eyes. We examined how light limits Megalopta's flight behavior by measuring flight times and corresponding light levels and comparing them with flight trajectories upon return to the nest. We found the average time to land increased in dim light, an effect due not to slow approaches, but to circuitous approaches. Some landings, however, were quite fast even in the dark. To explain this, we examined the flight trajectories and found that in dim light, landings became increasingly error prone and erratic, consistent with repeated landing attempts. These data agree well with the premise that Megalopta uses visual summation, sacrificing acuity in order to see and fly at the very dimmest light intensities that its visual system allows.},
  author       = {Theobald, Jamie and Coates, Melissa and Wcislo, WT and Warrant, Eric},
  issn         = {1477-9145},
  keyword      = {flight,nocturnal vision,apposition eye,visual summation,arthropoda,invertebrate,insecta},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {22},
  pages        = {4034--4042},
  publisher    = {The Company of Biologists Ltd},
  series       = {Journal of Experimental Biology},
  title        = {Flight performance in night-flying sweat bees suffers at low light levels.},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/jeb.003756},
  volume       = {210},
  year         = {2007},
}