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Annu Rev Entomol. 2010;55:267-84. doi: 10.1146/annurev.ento.010908.164537.

Honey bees as a model for vision, perception, and cognition.

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Queensland Brain Institute and School of Information Technology and Engineering, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia.


Among the so-called simpler organisms, the honey bee is one of the few examples of an animal with a highly evolved social structure, a rich behavioral repertoire, an exquisite navigational system, an elaborate communication system, and an extraordinary ability to learn colors, shapes, fragrances, and navigational routes quickly and accurately. This review examines vision and complex visually mediated behavior in the honey bee, outlining the structure and function of the compound eyes, the perception and discrimination of colors and shapes, the learning of complex tasks, the ability to establish and exploit complex associations, and the capacity to abstract general principles from a task and apply them to tackle novel situations. All this is accomplished by a brain that weighs less than a milligram and carries fewer than a million neurons, thus making the bee a promising subject in which to study a variety of fundamental questions about behavior and brain function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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