I hear that bees can see certain ultraviolet colors that humans can’t see. Is this so, or can the colors be produced, and is it like seeing “black-light flourescent” colors in plants and such that we don’t catch on to, seeing plain-ol’ green instead?
It’s true that bees can demonstrably perceive wavelengths that we can’t see. Exactly what this looks like to them is anybody’s guess – you can’t hook up to a bee’s brain and see what it sees. For all we know, they simply “transpose” the same color scale and see the Ultraviolet (UV) as blue, blue as green, green as yellow, etc. But maybe if you could educate a bee, she’d just say that it was like trying to explain color to a UV-blind man.
Humans can sort of see UV light. I’m a professional photographer. Here in the east (at least where I’m at) the humidity reflects alot of UV. This appears as haze on photographs. That is why most photographers put UV filters on their lenses, to filter out the UV haze. While the effect is much more noticable on photographic film, the human eye still can see some of it in the form of haze.
It depends on what you mean by “UV”. There’s no way the human eye can see 250 nm, but we can certainly see wavelengths at 400 nm. From what I’ve heard (and I don’t have anything in front of me) bees and see wavelengths in the UV that humans cannot. .
Incidentally, see Alfred Bester’s novel The Stars my Destination for a description of a woman able to see infrared wavelengths not normally visible to humans, and how she tries to describe the colors to a human with normal eyesight.