The Blog

by Patricia Dorval


Thomas Shahan
photo: Thomas Shahan via Easy Door Blog

I was going about my household chores yesterday when I was suddenly interrupted by the sight of an ant whose
misfortune it was to wander off into a spider’s web. The web’s landlord arrived just a few seconds later, showed her
fangs and plunged them knowingly into the ant, who fought some, but in vain. The spider immediately wrapped and
immobilized the ant in a harness made from her own white silk. It was a fascinating bout, but something of a mismatch.

That had me wondering about insect vision. Is their world full of colours or black and white? Do they see things in two or
three or perhaps ten dimensions? In fact, do they see anything at all? Could this little ant have diverted and so averted
the fate of a Sonny Linston—down and out at the opening bell against the king bee Ali in ’65!?

I decided to dig a little deeper and found this:

Ants do not see things as clearly as their bee cousins. How well they see depends in part on the number of ommatidia in the eye.
Some ants see colour, while other species see only black and white. Ants have compound eyes composed of hundreds of units called ommatidia. Each cell will photograph part of the image and the ant brain will synthesize the information to reconstruct the complete
image. The principle behind compound eyes is similar to that of a puzzle.

Could it be that this little ant was myopic in addition to being generally poor sighted?

This is what I dug up about arachnids (spiders):

Unlike insects, spiders do not have compound eyes composed of multiple units. They usually have eight eyes, although
some species feature six, four or only two, but none has good eyesight. Some have no eyes at all. Only eyes situated in
the front center allow for forward vision. Eyes on the periphery only detect movement. Spiders are nonetheless aware
of their surroundings and able to jump great distances despite poor vision thanks to…we don’t know! Isn’t that amazing?

Scientists say that no two animals see the same thing; there are as many ways of seeing as there are species and types
of eyes—over a million. This variety exists because species have adapted their vision to suit their needs, whether it is to
flee, hunt, kill or seduce. The more frequent and complex an animal’s interaction is with its surroundings, the more its
sensory organs develop. This is particularly true in the case of bees.


Vie et Mœurs des Abeilles - Karl von Frisch
Abeilles - J. Gould et C. Gould



From butterfly wing patterns to spiderwebs... You must admit that the insect world offers fascinating shapes and colours. Here are a few frames which capture this beauty:







Retour aux articles