Day 5: Eyes

The Twelve Days of Honey Bees, Day 5. A honey bee has five eyes.

Yes, indeed, a honey bee has five eyes. Two compound eyes as in most insects, and three ocelli that act as photoreceptors to detect the intensity and direction of light. The ocelli (plural of ocellus, of course) help honey bees navigate during flight. They likely aid foragers when following waggle dance instructions received from other bees.

The compound eyes are your typical multi-faceted insect eye. Worker bees have up to 6,900 facets per eye, with each facet contributing one part to the larger image seen by the bee. This picture from Day 3 shows the compound eyes in both workers and drones.

I have not noticed the ocelli in honey bees, and searching through my photos I don’t see a good view of them. The following picture from the prior ocelli link shows a great picture of the three ocelli on a mason bee as it exits its home.

May you prosper and find honey.

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