Journal article

The eyes have it: dim-light activity is associated with the morphology of eyes but not antennae across insect orders

Christopher B Freelance, Simon M Tierney, Juanita Rodriguez, Devi M Stuart-Fox, Bob BM Wong, Mark A Elgar

Biological Journal of the Linnean Society | Oxford University Press (OUP) | Published : 2021


The perception of cues and signals in visual, olfactory and auditory modalities underpins all animal interactions and provides crucial fitness-related information. Sensory organ morphology is under strong selection to optimize detection of salient cues and signals in a given signalling environment, the most well-studied example being selection on eye design in different photic environments. Many dim-light active species have larger compound eyes relative to body size, but little is known about differences in non-visual sensory organ morphology between diurnal and dim-light active insects. Here, we compare the micromorphology of the compound eyes (visual receptors) and antennae (olfactory and..

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Funding Acknowledgements

We thank: Ken Walker from Museum Victoria; You Ning Su, Cate Lemann, Andreas Zwick, Debbie Jennings, Olivia Evangelista and Bryan Lessard from the Australian National Insect Collection at the CSIRO; James Pitts from Utah State University for providing North American nocturnal mutillid specimens; Roger Curtain from the Bio21 Advanced Microscopy Facility at The University of Melbourne; Michael Keough and Stephen Swearer from The University of Melbourne; and two reviewers for their useful comments. C.F. was supported by the Australian Government Research Training Scheme. C. F., S. T., D.S. F., B. W. and M. E. designed the comparative analysis; C. F., S. T. and J.R. selected the species and sourced specimens; C.F. performed the microscopy, image analysis, statistical analysis and drafted the manuscript; all authors contributed to preparation of the final manuscript.