Retinal and optical adaptations for nocturnal vision in the halictid bee Megalopta genalis

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Retinal and optical adaptations for nocturnal vision in the halictid bee Megalopta genalis. / Greiner, Birgit; Ribi, WA; Warrant, Eric.

In: Cell and Tissue Research, Vol. 316, No. 3, 2004, p. 377-390.

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Retinal and optical adaptations for nocturnal vision in the halictid bee Megalopta genalis

AU - Greiner, Birgit

AU - Ribi, WA

AU - Warrant, Eric

PY - 2004

Y1 - 2004

N2 - The apposition compound eye of a nocturnal bee, the halictid Megalopta genalis, is described for the first time. Compared to the compound eye of the worker honeybee Apis mellifera and the diurnal halictid bee Lasioglossum leucozonium, the eye of M. genalis shows specific retinal and optical adaptations for vision in dim light. The major anatomical adaptations within the eye of the nocturnal bee are (1) nearly twofold larger ommatidial facets and (2) a 4-5 times wider rhabdom diameter than found in the diurnal bees studied. Optically, the apposition eye of M. genalis is 27 times more sensitive to light than the eyes of the diurnal bees. This increased optical sensitivity represents a clear optical adaptation to low light intensities. Although this unique nocturnal apposition eye has a greatly improved ability to catch light, a 27-fold increase in sensitivity alone cannot account for nocturnal vision at light intensities that are 8 log units dimmer than during daytime. New evidence suggests that additional neuronal spatial summation within the first optic ganglion, the lamina, is involved.

AB - The apposition compound eye of a nocturnal bee, the halictid Megalopta genalis, is described for the first time. Compared to the compound eye of the worker honeybee Apis mellifera and the diurnal halictid bee Lasioglossum leucozonium, the eye of M. genalis shows specific retinal and optical adaptations for vision in dim light. The major anatomical adaptations within the eye of the nocturnal bee are (1) nearly twofold larger ommatidial facets and (2) a 4-5 times wider rhabdom diameter than found in the diurnal bees studied. Optically, the apposition eye of M. genalis is 27 times more sensitive to light than the eyes of the diurnal bees. This increased optical sensitivity represents a clear optical adaptation to low light intensities. Although this unique nocturnal apposition eye has a greatly improved ability to catch light, a 27-fold increase in sensitivity alone cannot account for nocturnal vision at light intensities that are 8 log units dimmer than during daytime. New evidence suggests that additional neuronal spatial summation within the first optic ganglion, the lamina, is involved.

KW - visual system

KW - apposition compound eye

KW - retina

KW - Megalopta genalis (Insecta)

KW - structure

KW - nocturnal vision

KW - dim light

U2 - 10.1007/s00441-004-0883-9

DO - 10.1007/s00441-004-0883-9

M3 - Article

VL - 316

SP - 377

EP - 390

JO - Cell and Tissue Research

JF - Cell and Tissue Research

SN - 1432-0878

IS - 3

ER -