Recent research has uncovered a number of different ways in which bees use cues derived from optic flow for navigational purposes. The distance flown to a food source is gauged by integrating the apparent motion of the visual world that is experienced en route. In other words, bees possess a visually driven 'odometer' that is robust to variations in wind load and energy expenditure. Bees flying through a tunnel maintain equidistance to the flanking walls by balancing the apparent speeds of the images of the walls. This strategy enables them to negotiate narrow passages or to fly between obstacles. The speed of flight in a tunnel is controlled by holding constant the average image velocity as seen by the two eyes. This avoids potential collisions by ensuring that the bee slows down when flying through narrow passages. Bees landing on a horizontal surface hold constant the image velocity of the surface as they approach it. This automatically ensures that flight speed decreases with altitude and is close to zero at touchdown. The movement-sensitive mechanisms underlying these various behaviours seem to be different, qualitatively as well as quantitatively, from those mediating the well-investigated optomotor response.
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JOURNAL ARTICLE| 01 January 1996
Honeybee navigation en route to the goal: visual flight control and odometry
Online Issn: 1477-9145
Print Issn: 0022-0949
J Exp Biol (1996) 199 (1): 237–244.
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M Srinivasan, S Zhang, M Lehrer, T Collett; Honeybee navigation en route to the goal: visual flight control and odometry. J Exp Biol 1 January 1996; 199 (1): 237–244. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.199.1.237
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