While their brains are only 0.0002 percent the size of a person’s, they are capable of some astonishingly high amounts of communication, memory and navigation.
They used the micro-CT scanner facility in the Natural History Museum. This technique uses X rays and computer technology to capture hundreds of “picture pieces” of the subject, which could subsequently be compiled to produce an exact 3D projection. Unlike the old techniques of assessing insect brains with decapitations and scalpels, it is noninvasive and a whole lot less fiddly.
“It is an excellent method to look inside insect brains.
“The 3D constructions can be investigated as you want – from studying the entire organ down to each individual construction, piece by piece.”
Besides creating some pictures that are amazing, understanding the mechanisms of bees’ brains has some far reaching potentials. Bees play a crucial function in ecosystems around the globe as pollinators. Regardless of this, changes to surroundings and habitats has found a worrisome decline in bee populations over the past couple of years. By practising this exact skill of CT scan, they expect to better comprehend external effects on bees’ brains – such as disease and injury – and how this impacts their capability pollinate and to navigate.
“The structures are really so modest that tiny errors in measurement may lead to erroneous decisions. This new technique enables arrangements to be isolated, analyzed, and quantified in greater detail than before,” said Dylan Smith, another writer of the paper.