Home > Papers from 2015 > A new view on ant colour vision

A new view on ant colour vision

Most insects are trichromats (like us) however the picture for ants is less clear. It has often been reported as dogma that ants have two distinct photoreceptors (UV and green), but behavioural experiments have hinted at a more complex picture. Here, Ogawa et al demonstrate the existence of three distinct photoreceptors in two species of Myrmecia in Australia. Photoreceptors tuned to UV, blue and green were found, though what is not clear is whether this result is limited to this relatively primitive ant family. A really interesting note from the authors is that trichromacy in insects evolved before the pollination of flowers, thus suggesting its usefulness for other tasks. They hint at future research into the ecological tuning of visual systems for navigation.

Ogawa, Y., Falkowski, M., Narendra, A., Zeil, J., & Hemmi, J. M. (2015). Three spectrally distinct photoreceptors in diurnal and nocturnal Australian ants.Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences282(1808), 20150673.

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