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J Theor Biol. 2002 Feb 21;214(4):619-31.

Insects could exploit UV-green contrast for Landmark navigation.

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Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Department of Computer Science, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, Zurich, 8057, Switzerland.


Illumination-invariant detection of landmark features is a prerequisite for landmark navigation in insects. It is suggested that a contrast mechanism involving the UV and green receptors of insect eyes could guarantee a robust separation between natural objects as foreground and sky as background. Using a sensor with a UV and a green channel that in their spectral characteristics are close to the corresponding insect photoreceptors, data of natural objects and sky were collected. The data show that the two classes can be separated by a fixed threshold in the UV-green color space, offering an advantage over a purely UV-based separation that would require a dynamic threshold. Based on a numerical method, UV-green antagonism is shown to guarantee a more reliable discrimination than UV-blue antagonism.

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