January 17, 2021

Measuring Compound Eye Optics with Microscope and MicroCT Images

The arthropod compound eye is the most prevalent eye type in the animal kingdom, with an impressive range of shapes and sizes. Studying its natural range of morphologies provides insight into visual ecology, development, and evolution. In contrast to the camera-type eyes we possess, external structures of compound eyes often reveal resolution, sensitivity, and field of view if the eye is spherical. Non-spherical eyes, however, require measuring internal structures using imaging technology like MicroCT (CT). Thus far, there is no efficient tool to automate characterizing compound eye optics. We present two open-source programs: (1) the ommatidia detecting algorithm (ODA), which automatically measures ommatidia count and diameter, and (2) a CT pipeline, which calculates anatomical acuity, sensitivity, and field of view across the eye by applying the ODA. We validate these algorithms on images, images of replicas, and CT scans from eyes of ants, fruit flies, moths, and a bee.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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