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Bee vision of pattern and 3D The Bidder Lecture 1994


, : Bee vision of pattern and 3D The Bidder Lecture 1994. Bioessays 16(12): 877-884

Insect vision is nothing if not active. The regular head movements, called saccades, enable the fly Drosophila to keep a straight path in flight despite inequalities in the thrust of the wings. Using their own motion, bees in flight measure the ranges of nearby objects. A long history of research shows that bees discriminate visually in ways that depend on their activity or task, so we must distinguish between vision during flying, fixating or hovering and landing.Bees return again and again for a reward of sugar solution and use their eyes to find their way. In an apparatus that makes them discriminate between two simulataneously visible but regularly interchanged targets, seen at a distance of 27 cm, bees are able to distinguish a remarkable number of simple patterns, but they fail in certain critical cases. The results can be explained with the hypothesis that bees have several broadly tuned overlapping filters with large fields that respond to the predominant orientation in a region of the image, and others for radial and circular patterns. Together with colour, these filters are independent of range. Bees prefer to use landmarks where they can, then global pattern at the largest scale, and lastly the detail around the goal. The way that discrimination of one visual feature is independent of other variables can be explained by models analogous to the colour triangle in colour discrimination.

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DOI: 10.1002/bies.950161205


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