An Eye For The Queen

Worker Honey Bee

Worker Honey Bee

Honey bee drones leave the hive in the morning, search for and mate with queens during the day and return to the hive. The eye of the honeybee drone is specialized for these tasks. The drone has larger eyes than the worker bees for better vision and to accommodate specialized areas. In both drones and worker bees, the ventral area of the eyes has more green receptors (containing green rhodopsin) which are better for terrestrial navigation and tasks such as locating the hive.  In the drone, the same cell types in the dorsal half of the eye produce blue rhodopsin which are better for locating flying objects. Like the dragonfly eye, there is an abrupt change in color sensitivity between the upward facing receptors and those facing the ground. The drone bee has a special area on the top of the eye called the dorsal rim area that may be important in locating queens.

*Mathias F. Wernet, Michael W. Perry & Claude Desplan. 2015. The evolutionary diversity of insect retinal mosaics: common design principles and emerging molecular logic. Trends in Genetics, June 2015, Vol. 31, No. 6.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tig.2015.04.006

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in Biomaterials, by jjneal, Vision. Bookmark the permalink.

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