The power of compound eyes

Marge Elwell and Lisa Wen

In this article, we discuss the power of the compound eye. It is clear that the eye of an insect is able to detect the movement of an enemy or prey, as well as patterns of light and dark areas. But this equipment would not seem to give an insect a clear, sharply defined image of the external world. Of course, we do not know that what we see is any more real than what insects see. The signals conveyed to our brains produce certain instinctive reflex actions—we may turn away or close our eyes. By more complicated mental processes, visual memory influences visual perceptions. Insects react by visual memory: for example, returning to a nest and using visual landmarks.

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