Title Thumbnail

The Insect World

Being a Popular Account of the Orders of Insects

311 pages
Library of Alexandria
"Each facette, with its lens and nervous filament, separated from those surrounding them by the pigment in which they are enclosed, form an isolated apparatus, impenetrable to all rays of light, except those which fall perpendicularly on the centre of the facette, which alone is devoid of pigment. All rays falling obliquely are absorbed by that pigment which surrounds the gelatinous cone. It results partly from this, and partly from the immobility of the eye, that the field of vision of each facette is very limited, and that there are as many objects reflected on the optic filaments as there are corneæ. The extent, then, of the field of vision will be determined, not by the diameter of these last, but by the diameter of the entire eye, and will be in proportion to its size and convexity. But whatever may be the size of the eyes, like their fields of vision, they are independent of each other; there is always a space, greater or less, between them; and the insect cannot see objects in front of this space without turning its head. What a peculiar sensation must result from the multiplicity of images on the optic filaments! This is not more easily explained than that which happens with animals which, having two eyes, see only one image; and probably the same is the case with insects. But these eyes usually look in opposite directions, and should see two images, as in the chameleon, whose eyes move independently of each other. The clearness and length of vision will depend, continues M. Müller, on the diameter of the sphere of which the entire eye forms a segment, on the number and size of the facettes, and the length of the cones or lenses. The larger each facette, taken separately, and the more brilliant the pigment placed between the lenses, the more distinct will be the image of objects at a distance, and the less distinct that of objects near. With the latter the luminous rays diverge considerably; while those from the former are more parallel. In the first case, in traversing the pigment, they impinge obliquely on the crystalline, and consequently confuse the vision; in the second, they fall more perpendicularly on each facette.