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Video shows what a wasp sees as it heads home

The video, produced by the Australian National University in Canberra, provides glimpse of a wasp’s eye view as it moves towards its nest.

Interesting, although it is still beyond the ability of science to actually record what a wasp see. The video is a reconstruction, although one based on biological research and put together with immense detail. High speed cameras were used to track and record the motion of the heads of wasps during flight. Hundreds of recordings were then put together and processed using special software, to produce the video. The video uses three-dimensional modeling.

The wasps used for the video capture were ground-nesting wasps (Cerceris australis.) These wasps are common to Australia.

According to New Scientist magazine’s analysis of the footage, wasps have what is termed low-resolution vision. This means they need to rely upon visual cues together with a relatively sophisticated memory, in order to navigate. When as wasp leaves its nest each morning it continues to collect and process information. These memories are retained and help to guide the wasp back to the nest at the end of the day. In a sense, wasps are ‘homing insects.’

To return to the nest, as the video shows, the wasps move along in increasingly wide arcs. Here, lead researcher Jochen Zeil said: “We were surprised by how precise the choreography of learning flights was.”

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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