Monday, April 5, 2010

Bees see color 3X as Fast as We Do

Bees see color at about triple the speed that humans do, a new study finds.

The findings are the first to measure bumblebee color vision speed and show how it compares with that of monochromatic vision, or the "black-and-white" vision used to track motion.

Since speedy vision takes up quite a bit of energy, the results suggest seeing quickly in color must be rather valuable for bees.

"Color vision doesn't have to be so fast — if you want to track something moving accurately you need fast processing to track its changing position, but objects don't change color rapidly, that tends to be a permanent feature," said study author Peter Skorupski, a researcher at Queen Mary, University of London, in England. "[The results] suggest to us that color vision must be pretty important in the life of a bumblebee."

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