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Allometric scaling of a superposition eye optimises sensitivity and acuity in large and small hawkmoths

Citation

Stöckl, Anna et al. (2022), Allometric scaling of a superposition eye optimises sensitivity and acuity in large and small hawkmoths, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.44j0zpch4

Abstract

Animals vary widely in body size within and across species. This has consequences for the function of organs and body parts in both large and small individuals. How these scale, in relation to body size, reveals evolutionary investment strategies, often resulting in trade-offs between functions. Eyes exemplify these trade-offs, as they are limited by their absolute size in two key performance features: sensitivity and spatial acuity. Due to their size polymorphism, insect compound eyes are ideal models for studying the allometric scaling of eye performance. Previous work on apposition compound eyes revealed that allometric scaling led to poorer spatial resolution and visual sensitivity in small individuals, across a range of insect species. Here, we used X-ray microtomography to investigate allometric scaling in superposition compound eyes – the second most common eye type in insects – for the first time. Our results reveal a novel strategy to cope with the trade-off between sensitivity and spatial acuity, as we show that the eyes of the hummingbird hawkmoth retain an optimal balance between these performance measures across all body sizes.

Methods

see Methods in the linked publication

Funding

Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Award: FA8655-12-1-2136

Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften

Carl Tryggers Stiftelse för Vetenskaplig Forskning, Award: CTS15:38

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Award: STO 1255 2-1

Vetenskapsrådet, Award: 2014-4762