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According to …

….Arthur Dobbs Esq, in a letter published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, on 1 January 1753: “M. Reaumur has very justly observed, that, besides the three transparent smooth Eyes, which the Bee has placed in a Triangle betwixt the Antennae on the Top of its Head, the Bee has also on each Side of its Head an Eye, or rather a Multitude of Eyes, form’d by a Number of distinct Lens’s surrounded each with short Hairs, which are confirm’d to be Eyes, both from Swammerdam, and in his own Experiments to determine it; and that, when darkened by Paint laid over them, the Bees could not find their Way to their Hive, tho’ at a small Distance, but soar’d directly upwards; nor could they find their Way when the three smooth Eyes were darkened.

“But there is one Observation, which I don’t find he has made, which may have determined the Garden Bees to make almost all their Cells imperfect Hexagons. The Observation is this; that these opaque Eyes on each Side of the Head, consist of many Lens’s, each of which is a perfect Hexagon; and the whole Eye, when view’d in a Microscope, appears exactly like a Honeycomb: Now, as the Eyes compos’d of these hexagonal Lens’s, are in full View to the other Bees, does it not seem that Providence has directed them so as to be a Pattern set before them, for the Bees to follow in forming their Combs? Is it not also reasonable to believe, from the Disproportion of the Convexity betwixt the three smooth transparent Eyes, and the Lens’s of the dark rough Eyes, that they are appointed for different Purposes? why may it not be thought that the Lens’s are great Magnifiers, to view things high at hand, and by many Reflexions to convey Light into the dark Hives, where light is still necessary; and that the three other Eyes are to observe Objects at a great distance, so as to conduct them abroad to Fields at a Distance, and back again to their Hives?”

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