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Honey bees have 30 percent better Eyesight than previously recorded: Study

The findings suggest that honey bees can spot a potential predator, and thus escape, far earlier than what we thought previously

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Honey bee, Wikimedia

Sydney April 7, 2017: Honey bees have 30 per cent better eyesight than has been previously recorded, suggest results of “eye tests” given to the flying insects.

The findings suggest that they can spot a potential predator, and thus escape, far earlier than what we thought previously.

The researchers believe that the results, published in the journal Scientific Reports, could provide insights into the lives of honey bees, and new opportunities for translating this knowledge into fields such as robot vision.

“We’ve shown that the honey bee has higher visual acuity than previously reported. They can resolve finer details than we originally thought,” said one of the researches Steven Wiederman from Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide in Australia.

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“Importantly, these findings could also be useful in our work on designing bio-inspired robotics and robot vision, and for basic research on bee biology,” he added.

The researchers set out to answer two specific questions: first, what is the smallest well-defined object that a bee can see? (its object resolution); and second, how far away can a bee see an object, even if it cannot see that object clearly? (maximum detectability limit).

To do so, the researchers took electrophysiological recordings of the neural responses occurring in single photoreceptors in a bee’s eyes.

The photoreceptors are detectors of light in the retina, and each time an object passes into the field of vision, it registers a neural response.

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“We found that in the frontal part of the eye, where the resolution is maximised, honey bees can clearly see objects that are as small as 1.9 degree — that’s approximately the width of your thumb when you stretch your arm out in front of you,” Elisa Rigosi from Lund University in Sweden said.

This is 30 per cent better eyesight than has been previously recorded, she said.

“In terms of the smallest object a bee can detect, but not clearly, this works out to be about 0.6 degree — that’s one third of your thumb width at arm’s length,” Rigosi said.

“These new results suggest that bees have the chance to see a potential predator, and thus escape, far earlier than what we thought previously, or perceive landmarks in the environment better than we expected, which is useful for navigation and thus for survival,” she added.

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This research offers new and useful information about insect vision more broadly as well as for honey bees, Wiederman said. (IANS)

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Taj Mahal: Honey Bees at Historical Monument Alarm Tourists

A proposal with estimates of expenditure is pending at the headquarters for some months

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Though many complaints have been lodged by the visitors in the past, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has not taken the threat seriously. Pixabay

Honey bees at the iconic Taj Mahal and other historical monuments in the city continue to alarm tourists.

Though many complaints have been lodged by the visitors in the past, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has not taken the threat seriously, according to the tourist guides.

ASI sources said that a proposal with estimates of expenditure is pending at the headquarters for some months.

A local resident has even complained to the Ministry of Culture, demanding the immediate removal of beehives at the Taj which pose a threat to the safety of tourists.

Taj Mahal, Honey Bees, Historical
Honey bees at the iconic Taj Mahal and other historical monuments in the city continue to alarm tourists. Pixabay

Tourist guide Ved Gautam told IANS that beehives have always been there but precautionary measures were taken to ensure the safety of the visitors.

The one at the Mehmankhana (guest house) on the east side of Taj Mahal has always been there, as also the one at the entrance gate of Akbar’s tomb, Gautam said.

Old timers recalled several attacks by bees, which caused panic. Only last year, bees attacked visitors at the royal gate entrance to the Taj Mahal.

“Bees attack only when there is serious provocation from someone. In normal circumstances, they mind their own business,” a retired ASI staffer said.

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Not just bees, dogs and monkeys also continue to be a major nuisance at the Taj. Few days ago, photos of stray dogs loitering in the Taj were widely circulated on social media. Last year, there was a huge controversy over some CISF personnel being given catapult training to shoo away the simians. (IANS)