CINCINNATI, Aug. 23 (UPI) — U.S. researchers say they’ve discovered an insect with bifocal vision, the first evidence of true bifocal lenses in the animal kingdom.
University of Cincinnati researchers say two of the 14 eyes of the larvae of the sunburst diving beetle are equipped with bifocal lenses and two separate retinas to focus the images, a university release said Monday.
By using two retinas and two distinct focal planes that are substantially separated, the larvae can more efficiently use these bifocals — comparable to the glasses humans wear to switch their vision from up-close to distance — the better to see and catch their favorite food, mosquito larvae.
Sunburst diving beetle larvae typically live in creeks and streams in Arizona and the western United States. The larvae lose their intricate bifocal lenses when they become a beetle, the researchers say.
“We’re hoping this discovery could hold implications for humans, pending possible future research in biomedical engineering,” Elke K. Buschbeck, a UC associate professor of biology, said.
“The discovery could also have uses for any imaging technology,” Annette Stowasser, a UC biology doctoral student and first author on the paper, said.
The study is being published in the life-science journal Current Biology.
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