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Improving lives by solving problems in agriculture and the environment

The Discovery of a Visual System - The Honeybee

The Discovery of a Visual System - The Honeybee

Now Published!

By A Horridge, Formerly of The Australian National University, Canberra

May 2019 / Hardback / 296 Pages / 9781789240894 £85.00 / €110.00 / $116.67
With 10% online discount: £76.50 / €99.00 / $105.00
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Main Description

This book is the only account of what honeybees actually see. Bees detect some visual features such as edges and colours, but there is no sign that they reconstruct patterns or put together features to form objects. Bees detect motion but have no perception of what it is that moves, and certainly they do not recognize "things" by their shapes. Yet they clearly see well enough to fly and find food with a minute brain. Bee vision is therefore relevant to the construction of simple artificial visual systems, for example for mobile robots. The surprising conclusion is that bee vision is adapted to the recognition of places, not things. In this volume, Adrian Horridge also sets out the curious and contentious history of how bee vision came to be understood, with an account of a century of neglect of old experimental results, errors of interpretation, sharp disagreements, and failures of the scientific method. The design of the experiments and the methods of making inferences from observations are also critically examined, with the conclusion that scientists are often hesitant, imperfect and misleading, ignore the work of others, and fail to consider alternative explanations. The erratic path to understanding makes interesting reading for anyone with an interest in the workings of science but particularly those researching insect vision and invertebrate sensory systems.


Suitable for Insect physiologists working on vision. Entomologists generally and invertebrate zoologist.

  • 1: The Difficult Birth of Honeybee Colour Vision
  • 2: No Way to Untie the Spell
  • 3: Innovation, Deep Thought and Hard Work
  • 4: The Fundamentals of the Insect Compound Eye
  • 5: How Bees Distinguish Colours and Modulation
  • 6: Feature Detectors, Cues, Resolution, Preferences and Coincidences
  • 7: Symmetry and Asymmetry: Signposts in Route Finding
  • 8: Bee Vision is Not Adapted for Pattern or Shape
  • 9: The Visual Control of Flight
  • 10: The Route to the Goal and Back Again
  • 11: What Was Not Mentioned
  • 12: What We Learned

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