Monday, June 23, 2008

Interesting Animal Senses

  • Can detect small movement through 5 cm of earth.
  • Can see polarized light
  • Can see light between wavelengths 300 nm and 650 nm.
  • Have chemoreceptors (taste receptors) on their jaws, forelimbs and antennae.
  • Worker honey bees have 5,500 lenses ("ommatidia") in each eye.
  • Worker honey bees have a ring of iron oxide ("magnetite") in their abdomens that may be used to detect magnetic fields. They may use this ability to detect changes in the earth's magnetic field and use it for navigation.
  • Can see polarized light.
  • Can detect movement as small as 2,000 times the diameter of a hydrogen atom.
  • Eye contains 30,000 lenses.
  • Each eye has 3,000 lenses. (Simmons and Young, 1999)
  • Eye has a flicker fusion rate of 300/sec. Humans have a flicker fusion rate of only 60/sec in bright light and 24/sec in dim light. The flicker fusion rate is the frequency with which the "flicker" of an image cannot be distinguished as an individual event. Like the frame of a movie...if you slowed it down, you would see individual frames. Speed it up and you see a constantly moving image.
  • The small parasitic fly (Ormia ochracea) can locate sounds within a range of only 2o of the midline. (Mason et al., Nature, 410:686-690, 2001)
  • Blowflies taste with 3,000 sensory hairs on their feet.
  • Retina contains 20 million photoreceptors.
  • The eye has a flicker fusion frequency of 70/sec in bright light.
  • The pupil of the eye is rectangular.
  • Has chemoreceptors (taste receptors) on the suckers of their tentacles. By tasting this way, an octopus does not have to leave the safety of its home.
  • Has hearing range between 100 and 60,000 Hz.
  • Olfactory membrane about 14 sq. cm. For comparison, humans have an olfactory membrane of about 4 sq. cm.
  • Retina has 400,000 photoreceptors per sq. mm.

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