Back to Journals » Eye and Brain » Volume 7

How bees distinguish colors

Authors Horridge A

Received 22 November 2014

Accepted for publication 23 December 2014

Published 11 March 2015 Volume 2015:7 Pages 17—34

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/EB.S77973

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Margaret Wong-Riley

Adrian Horridge

Biological Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia


Abstract: Behind each facet of the compound eye, bees have photoreceptors for ultraviolet, green, and blue wavelengths that are excited by sunlight reflected from the surrounding panorama. In experiments that excluded ultraviolet, bees learned to distinguish between black, gray, white, and various colors. To distinguish two targets of differing color, bees detected, learned, and later recognized the strongest preferred inputs, irrespective of which target displayed them. First preference was the position and measure of blue reflected from white or colored areas. They also learned the positions and a measure of the green receptor modulation at vertical edges that displayed the strongest green contrast. Modulation is the receptor response to contrast and was summed over the length of a contrasting vertical edge. This also gave them a measure of angular width between outer vertical edges. Third preference was position and a measure of blue modulation. When they returned for more reward, bees recognized the familiar coincidence of these inputs at that place. They cared nothing for colors, layout of patterns, or direction of contrast, even at black/white edges. The mechanism is a new kind of color vision in which a large-field tonic blue input must coincide in time with small-field phasic modulations caused by scanning vertical edges displaying green or blue contrast. This is the kind of system to expect in medium-lowly vision, as found in insects; the next steps are fresh looks at old observations and quantitative models.

Keywords: vision, honey bee, visual processing, optimum system, picture sorting

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]

 

Other articles by this author:

How bees distinguish patterns by green and blue modulation

Horridge A

Eye and Brain 2015, 7:83-107

Published Date: 5 October 2015

How bees distinguish black from white

Horridge A

Eye and Brain 2014, 6:9-17

Published Date: 31 October 2014

Readers of this article also read:

A new recombinant factor VIII: from genetics to clinical use

Santagostino E

Drug Design, Development and Therapy 2014, 8:2507-2515

Published Date: 12 December 2014

Second case report of successful electroconvulsive therapy for a patient with schizophrenia and severe hemophilia A

Saito N, Shioda K, Nisijima K, Kobayashi T, Kato S

Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment 2014, 10:865-867

Published Date: 16 May 2014

Green synthesis of water-soluble nontoxic polymeric nanocomposites containing silver nanoparticles

Prozorova GF, Pozdnyakov AS, Kuznetsova NP, Korzhova SA, Emel’yanov AI, Ermakova TG, Fadeeva TV, Sosedova LM

International Journal of Nanomedicine 2014, 9:1883-1889

Published Date: 16 April 2014

Methacrylic-based nanogels for the pH-sensitive delivery of 5-Fluorouracil in the colon

Ashwanikumar N, Kumar NA, Nair SA, Kumar GS

International Journal of Nanomedicine 2012, 7:5769-5779

Published Date: 15 November 2012

A novel preparation method for silicone oil nanoemulsions and its application for coating hair with silicone

Hu Z, Liao M, Chen Y, Cai Y, Meng L, Liu Y, Lv N, Liu Z, Yuan W

International Journal of Nanomedicine 2012, 7:5719-5724

Published Date: 12 November 2012

Cross-linked acrylic hydrogel for the controlled delivery of hydrophobic drugs in cancer therapy

Deepa G, Thulasidasan AK, Anto RJ, Pillai JJ, Kumar GS

International Journal of Nanomedicine 2012, 7:4077-4088

Published Date: 27 July 2012

Crystallization after intravitreal ganciclovir injection

Pitipol Choopong, Nattaporn Tesavibul, Nattawut Rodanant

Clinical Ophthalmology 2010, 4:709-711

Published Date: 14 July 2010