Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 187, Issue 3, pp 215–224

Detection of coloured patterns by honeybees through chromatic and achromatic cues

  • Natalie Hempel de Ibarra
  • Martin Giurfa
  • Misha Vorobyev
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s003590100192

Cite this article as:
Hempel de Ibarra, N., Giurfa, M. & Vorobyev, M. J Comp Physiol A (2001) 187: 215. doi:10.1007/s003590100192

Abstract.

We asked whether the detection range of two-coloured centre-surround patterns differs from that of single-coloured targets. Honeybees Apis mellifera were trained to distinguish between the presence and absence of a single-coloured disc or a coloured pattern at different visual angles. The patterns presented colours which were either different in chromatic and L-receptor contrasts to the background, equal in chromatic but different in L-receptor contrasts, or vice-versa. Patterns with colours presenting only chromatic contrast were also tested. Patterns with higher L-receptor contrast in its outer than in its inner element were better detected than patterns with a reversed L-contrast distribution. However, both were detected worse than single-coloured discs of the respective colours. When the L-receptor contrast was the same for both elements, the detection range of the two-coloured and single-coloured targets was the same. Patterns whose colours lacked L-receptor contrast were detected just as single-coloured targets of the same colours. These results demonstrate that both chromatic and L-receptor contrasts mediate the detection of coloured patterns and that particular distributions of L-receptor contrast within a target are better detected than others. This finding is consistent with the intervention of neurons with centre-surround receptive fields in the detection of coloured patterns.

Honeybee Colour vision Pattern vision Detection Compound eye

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Natalie Hempel de Ibarra
    • 1
  • Martin Giurfa
    • 1
  • Misha Vorobyev
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Biologie – Neurobiologie, Freie Universität Berlin, Königin-Luise-Str. 28/30, 14195 Berlin, Germany
  2. 2.Departamento de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Ciudad Universitaria, CP 1428, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  3. 3.Present address: Laboratoire de Cognition Animale, Université Paul Sabatier – Toulouse III, 118 Route de Narbonne, 31062 Toulouse cedex 4, France
  4. 4.Present address: Department of Biological Sciences, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA