Homology Weekly: Compound Eyes

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009 | Ants, Comparative Anatomy, Homology Weekly, Morphology | 9 Comments

iGigantiops destructor/i (Michael Branstetter -

Gigantiops destructor (via Michael Branstetter -

The lateral eyes of adult insects (and most Arthropods) known as compound eyes, are like no other visual organs found in animals. You can think of our vertebrate eye as a simplified, one-lens photographic camera with a sensor composed of millions of light sensitive cells (and a blind spot, mind you). Well, that’s nothing. Each insects eye is composed of several small photographic cameras, each with its own lens and light sensitive cells (albeit, commonly only six of these). These units are called ommatidia (sing. ommatidium), and the image if formed by the combined information from all of them.1

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  1. To be honest, I have never know if this visual organ is called compound eye because it is composed of several ommatidia or because each ommatidium is composed of several elements. This has never disturb my sleep though.

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Homology Weekly: Dentiform Clypeal Setae

Friday, January 16th, 2009 | Ants, Homology Weekly, Morphology | 7 Comments
Anterior part of the head of an Australian <em>Onychomyrmex doddi</em> worker (Scanning Electron Micrograph, Roberto Keller/AMNH)

Anterior part of the head of an Australian Onychomyrmex doddi worker (Scanning Electron Micrograph, Roberto Keller/AMNH)

Among the many interesting features found in members of the subfamily Amblyoponinae is the presence of unique teeth-like structures at the anterior margin of the ant’s cranium. They are arranged in one or two parallel rows, right above the opening of the oral cavity, in a plate called clypeus. › Continue reading

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And as we discussed last semester, the Army Ants will leave nothing but your bones.
- Tom Waits