Flight performance in night-flying sweat bees suffers at low light levels.
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Journal of Experimental Biology
Förlag: The company of biologists Ltd
The sweat bee Megalopta (Hymenoptera: Halictidae), unlike most bees, flies in extremely dim light. And although nocturnal insects are often equipped with superposition eyes, which greatly enhance light capture, Megalopta performs visually guided flight with apposition eyes. We examined how light limits Megalopta's flight behavior by measuring flight times and corresponding light levels and comparing them with flight trajectories upon return to the nest. We found the average time to land increased in dim light, an effect due not to slow approaches, but to circuitous approaches. Some landings, however, were quite fast even in the dark. To explain this, we examined the flight trajectories and found that in dim light, landings became increasingly error prone and erratic, consistent with repeated landing attempts. These data agree well with the premise that Megalopta uses visual summation, sacrificing acuity in order to see and fly at the very dimmest light intensities that its visual system allows.
- nocturnal vision
- apposition eye
- visual summation
- Lund Vision Group
- ISSN: 0022-0949
- ISSN: 1477-9145