Evolution and function of interommatidial bristle cells in the insect compound eye

This is an ongoing project.

Faculty Researcher: Markus Friedrich

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Markus Friedrich


The compound eyes of insects are best known for the up to thousands of independent visual units called ommatidia, the major building blocks of the compound eye. Less attention has been paid to the fact that many but not all insect compound eyes are also covered by a regular array of bristles, which are highly reminiscent of the touch receptor bristles covering the rest of the body. The function of these interommatidial bristles is unknown. In this project, we compile a database on the presence and absence of interommatidial bristles in different insect species. Longterm goal is to test for correlations between the presence of of interommatidial bristles with ecological variables, which could give clues on the functional significance of interommatidial bristles. To this end, we survey the literature for scanning electron microscopy studies of the compound eye surface in species of different insect orders.


This is a literature-driven project that can be joined from junior year.

Last Updated

November 6, 2015