Well, almost a hairy eyeball. But more at: hair between parts of the eye. But first…five eyes total. Three simple ones on the top of the head (called ocelli). And then two compound ones on either side of the head. Although you cannot see the simple ones in this photograph, they’re pretty clear in the shot from Feb. 3.
The compound eyes are made of an array of lenses called ommatidia. And there is specialized hair between those lenses. Some say that the hair between the lenses detects wind direction and speed – which is apparently useful for navigation. Citation needed, I think. Might be a myth. And they sure have a lot of other hair elsewhere… A team at Georgia Tech made the case that the hair keeps pollen out of the eyes. Or, better, allows for collecting and then removing the pollen. That makes more sense to me. And also fits with what I’ve observed (pollen mess/cleaning/grooming). Stay tuned for some shots of filthy, filthy bees.
Here’s the eye in that pic at 100 percent. I won’t often break out a photo, but this was too interesting not to.
Not quite a “hairy eyeball”. But hair, nonetheless, at the intersections of the hexagonal ommatidia.
This one is on an aster. Here in the foothills of the Rockies, asters begin to bloom in late summer and continue until it freezes hard. They’re often one of the last plants making new blossoms as the season winds down. And the bees just love them. Especially the honeybees – as well as some of the natives. They’re a great late-season flower for pollinators.
Notice that she’d gotten into something else before. That larger pollen on her head and back. Looks like maybe a Rose of Sharon or a Winecup?
Parenthetically, I just printed this shot on acrylic at 16″ x 20″. In a word, stunning! Not typical wall art, I know, but wow. It really pops. She’s got gorgeous eyes!