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OSA Student Chapter Meeting

SPEAKER: Anton Shutov
TITLE: Visual acuity of the honey bee retina and the limits for feature detection
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.

Citation: Rigosi, E. et al. Visual acuity of the honey bee retina and the limits for feature detection. Sci. Rep. 7, 45972; doi: 10.1038/srep45972 (2017).

Thursday, April 27, 2017
IQSE 578, 12:30 noon
Mitchell Physics Building

Department of Physics and Astronomy
Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering
Texas A&M University

(Pizza lunch as usual. Newcomers welcome!)

Host: Sasha Zhdanova