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A compound eye is a
visual organ
visual organ
found in
arthropod An arthropod (, (gen. ποδός)) is an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton, a Segmentation (biology), segmented body, and paired jointed appendages. Arthropods form the phylum Euarthropoda,Reference showing that Euarthropoda is a phylum: ...
s such as
insect Insects (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in ...

insect
s and
crustacean Crustaceans (Crustacea ) form a large, diverse arthropod taxon which includes such animals as crabs, lobsters, crayfish, Caridea, shrimp, krill, Dendrobranchiata, prawns, woodlice, barnacles, copepods, amphipoda, amphipods and mantis shrimp. The ...
s. It may consist of thousands of
ommatidia thumbnail, Ommatidia of a krill. The compound eyes of arthropods An arthropod (, (gen. ποδός)) is an invertebrate Invertebrates are animals that neither possess nor develop a vertebral column (commonly known as a ''backbone'' or ''spin ...
, which are tiny independent photoreception units that consist of a
cornea The cornea is the transparent Transparency, transparence or transparent most often refer to transparency and translucency, the physical property of allowing the transmission of light through a material. They may also refer to: Literal uses * ...

cornea
,
lens A lens is a transmissive optical Optics is the branch of physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, s ...
, and
photoreceptor cell A photoreceptor cell is a specialized type of neuroepithelial cellNeuroepithelial cells, or neuroectodermal cells, form the wall of the closed neural tube in early embryonic development ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimenta ...

photoreceptor cell
s which distinguish brightness and color. The image perceived by this
arthropod eye Apposition eyes are the most common form of eye, and are presumably the ancestral form of compound eye A compound eye is a visual organ found in arthropod An arthropod (, (gen. ποδός)) is an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton, ...
is a combination of inputs from the numerous ommatidia, which are oriented to point in slightly different directions. Compared with single-aperture
eye Eyes are organs An organ is a group of tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs that co-exist in organ systems. A given organ's tissues can be broadly categorized as parenchyma Parenchyma () is t ...

eye
s, compound eyes have poor
image resolution Image resolution is the detail an image An image (from la, imago) is an artifact that depicts visual perception Visual perception is the ability to interpret the surrounding environment Environment most often refers to: __NOTOC_ ...
; however, they possess a very large view angle and the ability to detect fast movement and, in some cases, the
polarization Polarization or polarisation may refer to: In the physical sciences *Polarization (waves), the ability of waves to oscillate in more than one direction, in particular polarization of light, responsible for example for the glare-reducing effect of ...
of light.


Types

Compound eyes are typically classified as either apposition eyes, which form multiple inverted images, or superposition eyes, which form a single erect image.


Apposition eyes

Apposition eyes can be divided into two groups. The typical apposition eye has a lens focusing light from one direction on the
rhabdom File:Antarctic krill ommatidia.jpg, thumbnail, Ommatidia of a krill. The compound eyes of arthropods like insects, crustaceans and millipedes are composed of units called ommatidia (singular: ommatidium). An ommatidium contains a cluster of photore ...
, while light from other directions is absorbed by the dark wall of the
ommatidium The compound eye A compound eye is a visual organ found in arthropod An arthropod (, (gen. ποδός)) is an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton, a Segmentation (biology), segmented body, and paired jointed appendages. Arthropods f ...
. The
mantis shrimp Mantis shrimp, or stomatopods, are carnivorous A carnivore , meaning "meat Meat is animal flesh that is eaten as food. Humans have hunted and killed animals for meat since prehistoric times. The advent of civilization allowed the domes ...

mantis shrimp
is the most advanced example of an animal with this type of eye. In the other kind of apposition eye, found in the
Strepsiptera The Strepsiptera are an order of insects with nine extant families that include about 600 described species. They are endoparasites in other insects, such as bees, wasps, leafhoppers, Zygentoma, silverfish, and cockroaches. Females of most specie ...

Strepsiptera
, each lens forms an image, and the images are combined in the brain. This is called the schizochroal compound eye or the neural superposition eye (which, despite its name, is a form of the apposition eye).


Superposition eyes

The second type is named the superposition eye. The superposition eye is divided into three types; the refracting, the reflecting and the parabolic superposition eye. The refracting superposition eye has a gap between the lens and the rhabdom, and no side wall. Each lens takes light at an angle to its axis and reflects it to the same angle on the other side. The result is an image at half the radius of the eye, which is where the tips of the rhabdoms are. This kind is used mostly by nocturnal insects. In the parabolic superposition compound eye type, seen in arthropods such as
mayflies Mayflies (also known as shadflies or fishflies in Canada and the upper Midwestern U.S.; also up-winged flies in the United Kingdom) are aquatic insect Aquatic insects or water insects live some portion of their life cycle Life cycle, life- ...

mayflies
, the parabolic surfaces of the inside of each facet focus light from a reflector to a sensor array. Long-bodied decapod crustaceans such as
shrimp Shrimp are Decapoda, decapod crustaceans with elongated bodies and a primarily swimming mode of locomotion – most commonly Caridea and Dendrobranchiata. More narrow definitions may be restricted to Caridea, to smaller species of either group ...

shrimp
,
prawn Prawn is a common name Common may refer to: Places * Common, a townland in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland * Boston Common Boston Common (also known as the Common) is a central public park in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. It is sometimes ...

prawn
s,
crayfish Crayfish are freshwater crustacean Crustaceans (Crustacea ) form a large, diverse arthropod taxon which includes such animals as crabs, lobsters, crayfish, Caridea, shrimp, krill, Dendrobranchiata, prawns, woodlice, barnacles, copepods, ...

crayfish
and
lobster Lobsters are a family In , family (from la, familia) is a of people related either by (by recognized birth) or (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of families is to maintain the well-being of its members and of society ...

lobster
s are alone in having reflecting superposition eyes, which also have a transparent gap but use corner
mirror A mirror is an object that reflects an image An image (from la, imago) is an artifact that depicts visual perception Visual perception is the ability to interpret the surrounding environment Environment most often refers t ...

mirror
s instead of lenses.


Other

Good fliers like flies or honey bees, or prey-catching insects like
praying mantis Mantises are an order Order or ORDER or Orders may refer to: * Orderliness Orderliness is associated with other qualities such as cleanliness Cleanliness is both the abstract state of being clean and free from germs, dirt, trash, or waste, ...

praying mantis
or
dragonflies A dragonfly is a flying insect The Pterygota (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referr ...

dragonflies
, have specialized zones of
ommatidia thumbnail, Ommatidia of a krill. The compound eyes of arthropods An arthropod (, (gen. ποδός)) is an invertebrate Invertebrates are animals that neither possess nor develop a vertebral column (commonly known as a ''backbone'' or ''spin ...
organized into a fovea area which gives acute vision. In the acute zone the eye is flattened and the facets larger. The flattening allows more ommatidia to receive light from a spot and therefore higher resolution. There are some exceptions from the types mentioned above. Some insects have a so-called single lens compound eye, a transitional type which is something between a superposition type of the multi-lens compound eye and the single lens eye found in animals with simple eyes. Then there is the
mysid Mysida is an order (biology), order of small, shrimp-like crustaceans in the malacostracan superorder Peracarida. Their common name opossum shrimps stems from the presence of a Brood pouch (Peracarida), brood pouch or "marsupium" in females. The ...
shrimp, ''Dioptromysis paucispinosa''. The shrimp has an eye of the refracting superposition type, in the rear behind this in each eye there is a single large facet that is three times in diameter the others in the eye and behind this is an enlarged crystalline cone. This projects an upright image on a specialized retina. The resulting eye is a mixture of a simple eye within a compound eye. Another version is the pseudofaceted eye, as seen in
Scutigera ''Scutigera'' is a centipede genus in the family Scutigeridae Scutigeridae is a family (biology), family of centipedes. It includes most of the species known as house centipedes, including ''Scutigera coleoptrata'' and ''Allothereua maculata' ...

Scutigera
. This type of eye consists of a cluster of numerous
ocelli A simple eye (sometimes called a pigment pit) refers to a form of eye or an optical arrangement composed of a single lens and without an elaborate retina such as occurs in most vertebrates. In this sense "simple eye" is distinct from a multi-lense ...
on each side of the head, organized in a way that resembles a true compound eye. The body of ''
Ophiocoma wendtii ''Ophiocoma wendtii'' is a species of brittle stars that inhabits coral reefs from Bermuda to Brazil. It is known for its advanced compound eyes. These brittle stars have long, thin arms emanating from a small, disk-shaped body, and are about the ...
'', a type of
brittle star Brittle stars, serpent stars, or ophiuroids are echinoderms in the class Ophiuroidea closely related to starfish. They crawl across the sea floor using their flexible arms for locomotion. The ophiuroids generally have five long, slender, whip-li ...
, was previously thought to be covered with ommatidia, turning its whole skin into a compound eye. Asymmetries in compound eyes may be associated with asymmetries in behaviour. For example, ''
Temnothorax albipennis ''Temnothorax albipennis'', the rock ant is a species of small ant in the subfamily Myrmicinae. It occurs in Europe and builds simple nests in rock crevices. Description This species has the typical ant body pattern of head, mesosoma and metasoma ...
'' ant scouts show behavioural lateralization when exploring unknown nest sites, showing a population-level bias to prefer left turns. One possible reason for this is that its environment is partly maze-like and consistently turning in one direction is a good way to search and exit mazes without getting lost. This turning bias is correlated with slight asymmetries in the ants' compound eyes (differential ommatidia count).


See also

* Pseudopupil *
Arthropod eye Apposition eyes are the most common form of eye, and are presumably the ancestral form of compound eye A compound eye is a visual organ found in arthropod An arthropod (, (gen. ποδός)) is an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton, ...
*
Ommatidium The compound eye A compound eye is a visual organ found in arthropod An arthropod (, (gen. ποδός)) is an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton, a Segmentation (biology), segmented body, and paired jointed appendages. Arthropods f ...
*
Eye Eyes are organs An organ is a group of tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs that co-exist in organ systems. A given organ's tissues can be broadly categorized as parenchyma Parenchyma () is t ...

Eye


Cultural references

"Dragonfly eyes" (Chinese: 蜻蜓眼 ''qingting yan''] is a term for knobbly multi-coloured glass beads made in Western and Eastern Asia 2000–2500 years ago.https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/microscopy-and-microanalysis/article/abs/nondestructive-analysis-of-dragonfly-eye-beads-from-the-warring-states-period-excavated-from-a-chu-tomb-at-the-shenmingpu-site-henan-province-china/E2FCF854D5324115F503E1643C33BDBD DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1431927612014201 Owing to the multiple views and stimuli, compound eyes or dragonfly eyes have become a feature in art, film and literature, particularly in the 2010s. For example: * The Man with the Compound Eyes, novel (2011) by Wu Ming-yi, English translation (2013) by Darryl Sterk
''Dragonfly Eyes''
movie (2017) by
Xu Bing Xu Bing (; born 1955) is a Chinese artist who served as vice-president of the Central Academy of Fine Arts The Central Academy of Fine Arts or CAFA is an art academy managed by the Ministry of Education of China, Ministry of Education of Ch ...

''Dragonfly Eyes''
novel (2016) by
Cao Wenxuan Cao Wenxuan (; born January 1954) is a Chinese novelist, best known for his works of children's literature. Cao is the vice president of Beijing Writers Association. He is also a professor and doctoral tutor at Peking University. His novels have ...

Cao Wenxuan
, English translation (2021) by
Helen Wang Helen Kay Wang (; ; born 1965) is an English sinologist Sinology or Chinese studies, is an academic discipline that focuses on the study of China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the L ...


References


External links

*
The Compound Eye
'

{{Authority control Arthropod anatomy Entomology Eye