In the honey bee drone, the decrease in sensitivity to light of a retinula cell exposed to background illumination was found to be accurately reflected by the difference in amplitude between the initial transient depolarization and the lowest steady depolarization evoked by the background light. It is shown that both the decrease in sensitivity to light and the accompanying drop in potential from the transient to the plateau can be prevented by injecting EGTA intracellularly. A decrease in duration and amplitude of responses to short test flashes such as observed immediately after illumination was found to occur too when Ca or Na, but not K, Li, or Mg injected into dark-adapted retinula cells. Injection of EGTA into a retinula cell maintained a steady state of light adaptation, was found to cause an increase in amplitude and duration of the response to a short test flash, thus producing the effects of dark adaptation. It is suggested that, in the retina of the honey bee drone, an increase in intracellular calcium concentration plays a central role in light adaptation and that an increase in intracellular sodium concentration, resulting from the influx of sodium ions during the responses to light, could lead to this increase in intracellular free calcium.

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