|Description:||Magnified 1442X, twice that of PHIL 9950 and 9951, this scanning electron microscopic (SEM) image revealed some of the ultrastructural details found on the surface of one of the two eyes of this adult “figeater” beetle, Cotinis mutabilis. The meaning behind the “leaf-like” pattern seen on the eye’s chitinous surface is unknown, however, when carefully scrutinized, it does not appear to be randomized.|
The figeater beetle is equipped with compound eyes, which are 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.