Acuity of compound eyes: Physical limitations and design
- Cite this article as:
- Snyder, A.W. J. Comp. Physiol. (1977) 116: 161. doi:10.1007/BF00605401
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The limitations to resolving power include: the intensity of light, angular motion, receptor grain, lens-pupil blur, finite diameter of rhabdom, and neural convergence.
Only those animals that are active in bright sunlight and normally have low angular velocity, profit by having some region of their eyes near the diffraction limit, i.e.DΔφ ≅ 0.58λ, whereD is the facet diameter,Δφ the interommatidial angle and λ the wavelength in vacuum. If these conditions are not fulfilled, it is better to have a largerDΔφ.
The effect of an animal undergoing angular velocityu is equivalent to a reduction in light intensity by the amount exp−1.78(φtΔφ)2, where φt is the amount the animal turns in one integration time. Taking this into account, we present a possible explanation forMusca havingDΔφ about 4.5 times greater than the diffraction limit.
Various strategies for dark-adaptation are considered with the conclusion that neural pooling combined with a widening of the acceptance angle is most effective for coping with reduced intensities.