|Description:||Under a high magnification of 1414X, this scanning electron microscopic (SEM) image depicted the compound eye morphology of a captured insect suspected to be an ant. The ant was caught in a tangled cocoon of a brown recluse spider’s, Loxesceles reclusa, web, and seen here was the surface of one of its two compound eyes.|
The compound eye is given this name due to the fact that the single large eye is really made up of many repeating units known as "ommatidia”. Each ommatidium is composed of separate units made up of a photoreceptor cell, support cell, and pigment cells. Though each of these visual mechanisms functions as a separate organ, together they provide the organism with a "compound” picture of its environment. Due to what is referred to as the "flicker effect”, the compound eye is made very sensitive to movement, with each ommatidium turning on and off, as objects pass across its field of view. The bilateral anatomical placement of the insect's eyes provides the organism with a very wide range of visual sensitivity.