At twice the magnification, i.e., 600X, as that of PHIL 9904, this scanning electron micrograph (SEM) depicted one of the two compound eyes of an unidentified 1/4"-sized black flying insect with a small red mark on its dorsum, found in the Decatur, Georgia suburbs.The compound eye is given this name due to the fact that the single large eye is really made up of many repeating units known as "ommatidia', each composed of separate units made up of a photoreceptor cell, support cell, and pigment cells. Though each of these visual mechanisms functions as a separate organ, together they provide the organism with a "compound' picture of its environment. Due to what is referred to as the "flicker effect', the compound eye is made very sensitive to movement, with each ommatidium turning on and off, as objects pass across its field of view. The bilateral anatomical placement of the insect's eyes provides the organism with a very wide range of visual sensitivity.
CDC/ Betsy Crane
December 1, 2012
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