Ultrastucture of the Eyes of the stingless bees Trigona iridipennnis

Akhila Vijayan, Martin J. Babu

Abstract


Trigona iridipennis (stingless bees) are presumably endowed with remarkable visual sensory perceptional capabilities. Compound eyes and the three ocelli, which constitute their visual system, occupy a large area of their head surface, which indicates the likelihood of an elaborate visual system. It is therefore reasonable to assume that visual sensory modalities have a crucial role in the social life of these bees. Scanning Electron (SEM) and light microscopic investigations were carried out to understand structural sophistications of compound eyes and ocelli to get insights into their visual adaptations of these bees. The general organization of the brain areas concerned with visual sensory inputs processing were also analysed. Results of our studies suggest that Trigona irridipennis employ a complex way of perceiving light differentially at different areas of the eyes. Ommatidial facets of different diameters of the compound eyes suggest a differential perceptional mechanism in these bees. Further, the complex arrangement of rhabdoms within the eye and the organization of the visual neuropils corroborate the argument that these bees have complex visual sensory adaptations, which probably might have evolved in relation to a lifestyle that heavily relies on visual sensory inputs.

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