Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bees see super color at super speed

Date:
April 20, 2010
Source:
Queen Mary, University of London
Summary:
Bees see the world almost five times faster than humans, according to new research. This gives bumblebees the fastest color vision of all animals, allowing them to easily navigate shady bushes to find food.

Bees see the world almost five times faster than humans.
Credit: Image courtesy of Queen Mary, University of London

Bees see the world almost five times faster than humans, according to new research from scientists at Queen Mary, University of London.

This gives bumblebees the fastest colour vision of all animals, allowing them to easily navigate shady bushes to find food, write Dr Peter Skorupski and Prof Lars Chittka in the Journal of Neuroscience.

The ability to see at high speed is common in fast-flying insects; allowing them to escape predators and catch their mates mid-air. However, until now it wasn't known whether the bees' full colour vision was able to keep up with their high speed flight. This research sheds new light on the matter; suggesting that although slower, it is also about twice as fast as human vision.

Dr Skorupski, who carried out the work at Queen Mary's Research Centre for Psychology in the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences says; "We can't easily follow a fast flying insect by eye, but they can follow each other, thanks to their very fast vision. How fast you can see depends on how quickly the light-detecting cells in your eye can capture snapshots of the world and send them to you brain. Most flying insects can see much quicker than humans, for example so they can avoid getting swatted!"

Bumblebees use their advanced colour vision in many ways. Dr Skorupski explains: "Bees were the first animals that scientists proved to have colour vision, and they have since been shown to put it to good use; navigating dappled light and shady areas, recognising shapes like their hive entrance, and particularly for finding nectar-bearing coloured flowers."

The experiments show that the bees burn more energy to see in colour than they would to see in monochrome (black and white), raising questions about how they make the most of it. "Bees' energy can't be used frivolously, as they need so much of it just to stay alive. It seems they only see colours at half the speed they see white light, which give them enough detail to find their favourite flowers and navigate back home," suggests Dr Skorupski.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen Mary, University of London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. P. Skorupski, L. Chittka. Differences in Photoreceptor Processing Speed for Chromatic and Achromatic Vision in the Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris. Journal of Neuroscience, 2010; 30 (11): 3896 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5700-09.2010

Cite This Page:

Queen Mary, University of London. "Bees see super color at super speed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100317101348.htm>.
Queen Mary, University of London. (2010, April 20). Bees see super color at super speed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100317101348.htm
Queen Mary, University of London. "Bees see super color at super speed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100317101348.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins