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Visual acuity of the honey bee retina and the limits for feature detection

Rigosi, Elisa LU ; Wiederman, Steven D and O'Carroll, David C. LU (2017) In Scientific Reports 7.
Abstract

Visual abilities of the honey bee have been studied for more than 100 years, recently revealing unexpectedly sophisticated cognitive skills rivalling those of vertebrates. However, the physiological limits of the honey bee eye have been largely unaddressed and only studied in an unnatural, dark state. Using a bright display and intracellular recordings, we here systematically investigated the angular sensitivity across the light adapted eye of honey bee foragers. Angular sensitivity is a measure of photoreceptor receptive field size and thus small values indicate higher visual acuity. Our recordings reveal a fronto-ventral acute zone in which angular sensitivity falls below 1.9°, some 30% smaller than previously reported. By measuring... (More)

Visual abilities of the honey bee have been studied for more than 100 years, recently revealing unexpectedly sophisticated cognitive skills rivalling those of vertebrates. However, the physiological limits of the honey bee eye have been largely unaddressed and only studied in an unnatural, dark state. Using a bright display and intracellular recordings, we here systematically investigated the angular sensitivity across the light adapted eye of honey bee foragers. Angular sensitivity is a measure of photoreceptor receptive field size and thus small values indicate higher visual acuity. Our recordings reveal a fronto-ventral acute zone in which angular sensitivity falls below 1.9°, some 30% smaller than previously reported. By measuring receptor noise and responses to moving dark objects, we also obtained direct measures of the smallest features detectable by the retina. In the frontal eye, single photoreceptors respond to objects as small as 0.6° × 0.6°, with >99% reliability. This indicates that honey bee foragers possess significantly better resolution than previously reported or estimated behaviourally, and commonly assumed in modelling of bee acuity.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Scientific Reports
volume
7
publisher
Nature Publishing Group
external identifiers
  • scopus:85017110593
  • wos:000398593200001
ISSN
2045-2322
DOI
10.1038/srep45972
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
7b1d42e8-7779-4c3e-ae70-0b86da6fe513
date added to LUP
2017-04-26 15:13:27
date last changed
2017-09-18 13:33:23
@article{7b1d42e8-7779-4c3e-ae70-0b86da6fe513,
  abstract     = {<p>Visual abilities of the honey bee have been studied for more than 100 years, recently revealing unexpectedly sophisticated cognitive skills rivalling those of vertebrates. However, the physiological limits of the honey bee eye have been largely unaddressed and only studied in an unnatural, dark state. Using a bright display and intracellular recordings, we here systematically investigated the angular sensitivity across the light adapted eye of honey bee foragers. Angular sensitivity is a measure of photoreceptor receptive field size and thus small values indicate higher visual acuity. Our recordings reveal a fronto-ventral acute zone in which angular sensitivity falls below 1.9°, some 30% smaller than previously reported. By measuring receptor noise and responses to moving dark objects, we also obtained direct measures of the smallest features detectable by the retina. In the frontal eye, single photoreceptors respond to objects as small as 0.6° × 0.6°, with &gt;99% reliability. This indicates that honey bee foragers possess significantly better resolution than previously reported or estimated behaviourally, and commonly assumed in modelling of bee acuity.</p>},
  articleno    = {45972},
  author       = {Rigosi, Elisa and Wiederman, Steven D and O'Carroll, David C.},
  issn         = {2045-2322},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {04},
  publisher    = {Nature Publishing Group},
  series       = {Scientific Reports},
  title        = {Visual acuity of the honey bee retina and the limits for feature detection},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep45972},
  volume       = {7},
  year         = {2017},
}