Scientists in three countries have just made a major discovery about the nature of insect vision. This new research proves that insects can see the world around them in greater detail than previously imagined.
Most people in the field of entomology believed insects saw the world in fuzzy pixelated vision. Since most insects have thousands of eye-units, scientists thought it would be impossible for them to make out complex detail with any clarity.
Interestingly, researchers in China, England, and Portugal have discovered photoreceptor cells beneath flies' lenses. These photoreceptor cells move so fast that researchers had to use a bespoke microscope attached to a high-speed camera to examine how these cells move. Professors involved in this study exposed various flies to light and recorded how their photoreceptor cells responded using this camera.
Researchers concluded that these extremely fast photoreceptor cells allow the flies to see clearly. They found that these cells move in and out of focus at such an incredible pace to help the flies make out their surroundings in great detail.
Study authors note that this discovery is far more than a piece of interesting trivia. They actually believe this finding can help us better understand how photoreceptors work in our own eyes.
The universities that participated in this research include the University of Sheffield, Beijing Normal University, Cambridge University, and the Champalimaud Center for the Unknown in Portugal. Key researchers involved in this study include Mikko Juusola, Zhuoyi Song, Diana Rien, and Florence Blanchard.
You can read this entire research in the September 5th, 2017, edition of eLife Sciences. This study is called, "Microsaccadic sampling of moving image information provides Drosophila hyperacute vision"