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Book Chapter

The Resolution of Lens and Compound Eyes


Kirschfeld,  K
Former Department Comparative Neurobiology, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Kirschfeld, K. (1976). The Resolution of Lens and Compound Eyes. In Neural Principles in Vision (pp. 354-370). Berlin, Germany: Springer.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-F18A-8
Two distinctly different types of eyes have been highly developed in evolution: lens eyes (= camera eyes) in vertebrates, some molluscs and arachnids and compound eyes in arthropods. Based on his comparative studies of the optical properties of compound and lens eyes, Exner (1891) concluded that both types of eyes are optimally adapted for different functions: lens eyes with their high angular resolution seem to more useful for pattern recognition, whereas the compound eyes, with their poor resolution, are thought to be specialized for movement perception. This view is still generally accepted (see the textbooks of Scheer, 1969, Kaestner, 1972). Furthermore, the small facet diameters of the ommatidia in compound eyes seem to cause a poor absolute sensitivity (Exner, 1891; Barlow, 1952; Kirschfeld, 1966; Prosser and Brown, 1969; Snyder et al., 1973). Some insects are said, however, to have higher temporal resolution than humans (Autrum, 1948).