I am going to give us a nice piece of meat to gnaw on here. First I will give you a secular science article concerning "strepsipteran", that world-famous parasitical insect. I may reach out to Karl Priest to comment later on this. For now, as oftentimes I do, my words will be in this color when I comment within an article. The article itself in both cases will be normal copy.
We begin with a News in Science article:
Monday, 8 November 1999
Scanning electron micrographs show a) head of the strepsipteran b) eye of a fruit fly c) eye of the strepsipteran Pic: Cornell University
Cornell University biologists report, in the latest edition of Science, their discovery that the composite eyes of the parasitic insect, strepsipteran, have only 50 facets compared with the compound eyes of most insects which have many hundreds of lens facets, each sampling only one small point in the insect's visual field.
"No other insect that we know of has eyes quite like this," said Ron Hoy, professor of neurobiology and behavior at Cornell and co-author, with Elke Buschbeck and Birgit Ehmer, of the report. "The only place one may see a comparable eye structure is in the fossils of some kinds of trilobites," he says, referring to the extinct arthropods that lived in shallow seas during the Paleozoic era.
Fewer facets does not mean poorer vision, the Cornell biologists believe. The strepsipteran lenses are larger, and each has about 100 receptors, forming an individual retina behind each lens. According to the investigators, this kind of eye is well equipped to sample not points but "chunks" of the visual field, greatly improving visual capability.
"This composite lens arrangement allows the insect to have many more photoreceptors in a given area than would be possible with a compound eye. If you only have so much space on your head for eyes and you want to gather the most light, you want a composite lens eye," says Buschbeck. "The larger lenses of the strepsipteran insects are similar to a large lens of a camera, large insect lenses admit more light, support more photoreceptors and permit higher resolution."
The seldom-seen parasites are hidden in the bodies of common paper wasp. Females never leave their host. When males do, they are on a specific, hurried mission. In the approximately two hours before they die, the males have to find another wasp that is parasitised by a female, mate and depart.
"Sex pheromones from females probably help males to locate the general neighborhood of a wasp with a female parasite," Ehmer says, "but the male presumably relies on his vision once he is close to the wasp." She said that the importance to the insect of the visual system also is apparent from the volume of optic lobes dedicated to processing visual information, which Ehmer estimates to be 75 percent of the insect's brain.
An insect viewing the world in fewer but larger chunks of the visual field would have an inverted, mirror-image problem. Like any simple lens, each facet inverts or reverses its individual portion of the overall image.
The correction comes about, the Cornell biologists believe, because of chiasmata, X-shaped nerve crossings. The biologists found that behind each of the facets is a nerve that connects it to the brain. The nerve exhibits a chiasma, rotating the nerve 180° around its own axis and re-inverting each portion of the image.