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While the human eye can practically cope only with two aspects of light, brightness and colour, for many animals polarization is a further source of visual information.
This fascinating phenomenon of polarization sensitivity is comprehensively treated by Horváth and Varjú. Starting with a short introduction into imaging polarimetry – an efficient technique for measuring light polarization – various polarization patterns occurring in nature are presented. Among them are the polarizational characteristics of water surfaces, mirages and the underwater light field as well as the celestial polarization patterns affected by the illumination conditions of sunrise, sunset, clear or cloudy skies, moonshine and total solar eclipses.
The major part of Polarized Light in Animal Vision is dedicated to the question: How can animals perceive and use the natural and artificial polarization patterns? Following a detailed compendium of the physiological basis of polarization sensitivity, several case studies of animal behaviour determined or influenced by polarization are presented. It is shown how arial, terrestrial and aquatic animals use the celestial and underwater polarization for orientation, e. g. how polarized light serves honeybees or ants as a compass. Further, it is explained how man-made objects affecting the natural optical environment may disorientate animals. For instance, as in the case where oil or glass surfaces, asphalt roads, or plastic sheets used in agriculture can be more attractive for water-seeking polarotactic insects than the water surface, and where mayflies lay their eggs on dry asphalt roads or cars.
Part I: Imaging Polarimetry
1 Polarimetry: From Point-Source to Imaging Polarimeters
Part II: Polarization Patterns in Nature
2 Space-Borne Measurement of Earthlight Polarization
3 Skylight Polarization
4 Principal Neutral Points of Atmospheric Polarization
5 24-Hour Change of the Polarization Pattern of the Summer Sky North of the Arctic Circle
6 Polarization Patterns of Cloudy Skies and Animal Orientation
7 Ground-Based Full-Sky Imaging Polarimetric Cloud Detection
8 Polarization Pattern of the Moonlit Clear Night Sky at Full Moon: Comparison of Moonlit and Sunlit Skies
9 Imaging Polarimetry of the Rainbow
10 Which Part of the Spectrum is Optimal for Perception of Skylight Polarization?
11 Polarization of the Sky and the Solar Corona During Total Solar Eclipses
12 Reflection-Polarization Pattern of the Flat Water Surface Measured by 180° Field-of-View Imaging Polarimetry
13 Polarization Pattern of a Fata Morgana: Why Aquatic Insects are not Attracted by Mirages?
14 Polarizational Characteristics of the Underwater World
15 Circularly Polarized Light in Nature
Part III: Polarized Light in Animal Vision
16 From Polarization Sensitivity to Polarization Vision
17 Polarization Sensitivity in Terrestrial Insects
18 Polarization Sensitivity in Insects Associated with Water
19 Multiple-Choice Experiments on Dragonfly Polarotaxis: Dragonflies Find Crude Oil Visually More Attractive than Water
20 How can Dragonflies Discern Bright and Dark Waters from a Distance? The Degree of Linear Polarization of Reflected Light as a Possible Cue for Dragonfly Habitat Selection
21 Oil Reservoirs and Plastic Sheets as Polarizing Insect Traps
22 Why do Mayflies Lay Eggs on Dry Asphalt Roads? Water-Imitating Horizontally Polarized Light Reflected from Asphalt Attracts Ephemeroptera
23 Reflection-Polarizational Characteristics of Car-Bodies: Why are Water-Seeking Insects Attracted to the Bodywork of Cars?
24 Polarization Sensitivity in Spiders and Scorpions
25 Polarization Sensitivity in Crustaceans
26 Polarization Sensitivity and Polarization Patterns of the Body Surface of Cephalopods
27 Polarization-Sensitive Optomotor Reaction in Invertebrates
28 Polarization Sensitivity in Fishes
29 Polarization Sensitivity in Amphibians
30 Polarization Sensitivity in Reptiles
31 Polarization Sensitivity in Birds
32 Human Polarization Sensitivity
33 Polarization-Induced False Colours
34 A Common Methodological Error: Intensity Patterns Induced by Selective Reflection of Linearly Polarized Light from Black Surfaces