Bees which are held in a fixed position so that only head movements can be made, respond to a moving stripe system in their visual field by a characteristic motion of the antennae. This reflex can be used to measure the bee's state of photic adaptation. A curve describing the course of dark adaptation is obtained, which shows that the sensitivity of the light adapted bee's eye increases rapidly during the first few minutes in darkness, then more slowly until it reaches a maximum level after 25 to 30 minutes. The total increase in sensitivity is about 1000 fold.
The adaptive range of the human eye is about 10 times greater than for the bee's eye. The range covered by the bee's eye corresponds closely to the adapting range which is covered by the rods of the human eye.