Adrian Horridge in April 2019

Exit in Tardis - Cambridge 2012

In Switzerland June 2018

Bird-watching in rain forest 2011

With daughter Meret and Wollemi pine 2011

With daughter Rebecca at Australian Academy of Science dinner 2013

At granddaughter Finnian's wedding, 2009

Son Professor Mark Horridge and his mother Audrey, 2009

The main characters in the Bee Vision book

Adrian Horridge

I am a retired professor still working on bee vision and general history of traditional canoes and sailing boats of the Pacific region.

Updated 2020-01-30

It's been another long, hot, summer but the rose garden has survived. There is a new gazebo that extends the sitting room into the garden. The nearest recent forest fires, 60 km away, caused a smoke problem for some days in January 2020. In December 2019, I had a new right hip joint, and now walk with a wheelie walker.

I was interviewed by Robyn Williams from ABC radio's The Science Show about honeybee vision. The interview aired on 18 January 2020, and is available to stream via New ideas on how bees see.

Now published: The Discovery of a Visual System - The Honeybee

In May 2019, I published my latest book The Discovery of a Visual System - The Honeybee.

The hard-back version is expensive, but the online version is available.

My book on the Prahu is available online in Bahasa Indonesia. If you are a known specialist in that area; apply to me through my email address

In the pipeline

At present, I am working on a new book entitled
"The Proper Use of Leisure",
and am looking for a publisher.
Everyone has different opinions on that topic.

The Annual Party this year will be in the first week of November, when the garden will be at its best. It is not a birthday party, but I hope to reach 93 this year.

Usually, there is a spare bed at my house, for travellers and friends’ short stay. Warning of arrival is required by my very fierce housekeeper.

The Discovery of a Visual System - The Honeybee

By Adrian Horridge, of The Australian National University, Canberra
May 2019 / Hardback / 256 Pages / 9781789240894 £85.00 / €110.00 / $116.67

Main Description

This book is the only account of what honeybees actually see. Bees detect some visual features such as edges and colours, but there is no sign that they reconstruct patterns or put together features to form objects. Bees detect motion but have no perception of what it is that moves, and certainly they do not recognize "things" by their shapes. Yet they clearly see well enough to fly and find food with a minute brain. Bee vision is therefore relevant to the construction of simple artificial visual systems, for example for mobile robots. The surprising conclusion is that bee vision is adapted to the recognition of places, not things. In this volume, Adrian Horridge also sets out the curious and contentious history of how bee vision came to be understood, with an account of a century of neglect of old experimental results, errors of interpretation, sharp disagreements, and failures of the scientific method. The design of the experiments and the methods of making inferences from observations are also critically examined, with the conclusion that scientists are often hesitant, imperfect and misleading, ignore the work of others, and fail to consider alternative explanations. The erratic path to understanding makes interesting reading for anyone with an interest in the workings of science but particularly those researching insect vision and invertebrate sensory systems.

Read the full description and table of contents at CABI's bookshop.

Read a short summary of my findings on honeybee colour vision from my recent research as summarised in my book. I have noticed a handful of a errors and corrections to The Discovery of a Visual System which I've compiled in my corrections list.

Recent papers on bee vision

Despite the upset of bee vision in my new book, the following publications are still mostly valid because the new work mainly changes our understanding of how bees detect colour and pattern, which they certainly do not see as we do.

Bees detect total amount of blue, vertical position of blue, polarity of blue colour relative to a landmark of green modulation at edges, width between two vertical edges of green contrast, amount and some distributions of green contrast at edges (such as average orientation, radial spokes, circles, and regional differences, especially asymmetry), At present, the only full account is in my new book.

People in Neurobiology

Video interview 2012 (ANU School of History project)


Family Record

Older papers on bee vision

The following contain errors in so far as they relate to bee perception of colour or pattern. It is advisable that the new book be read before considering all previous work.


Indonesian Canoes and Sailing Boats