How is Refraction used in the Natural World by Animals?

How do Animals use Refraction? How does Refraction occur in Nature? Can Refraction occur in the Human Eye? What is the Difference between Refraction and Reflection? 
how is refraction used in the natural world by animals
Photo by Akin Cakiner on Unsplash

In various situations in our daily lives, we can witness the refraction of light. Refraction occurs in nature and how animals use refraction is an interesting topic as refraction makes everything appear closer than they are. However, this process is also used by humans to get their vision right. The optical lenses are built using the same principles that allow the human eye and other devices such as glasses, cameras, binoculars, and microscopes to see farther objects closer. In this article, you will find something interesting about how is refraction used in the natural world by animals. So, let’s start.

1. How is Refraction used in the Natural World by Animals?

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Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

The position and shape of an animal’s eyes help in its survival. Animals have raised pupils, which provides them with better focus and the ability to calculate distance. 

The curved cornea of their eyes bends light into it and the lens adjusts itself to maintain the focus of the vision. Animals see very well in the dark. This is because they have big eyes with large pupils. The bigger their eyes, the more visibility needed to hunt or see. Animals’ retinas have more photoreceptors, which are called cones and rods, which can convert light waves into information for the brain. This answers how is refraction used in the natural world by animals. Also, check out how do fish sleep with their eyes open? 

2. How Animals Use Refraction?

Let’s find out how is refraction used in the natural world by animals. There is a difference between the animal and the human eye. Typically, light enters the eyes through the cornea first before being refracted into the pupil by the aqueous humour. How light is refracted into the eye depends on the lens’s convexity and thickness. The retina, which has rods and cones, receives the light’s focus and transmits nerve impulses to the brain. The animal can see as a result of this whole process. The cornea, aqueous humour, lens, and vitreous humour are the eye organs that take part in refraction. (See How Dog See the World)

3. How does Refraction occur in Nature?

Refraction is the shift in a wave’s direction when it travels through one medium and then another. The wave’s alteration in speed is what creates refraction. The following is the evidence that refraction does indeed occur in nature:

  • Formation of Rainbow
  • Twinkling of Stars
  • Use of Camera lens

4. Can Refraction occur in the Human Eye?

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Photo by Todd Cravens on Unsplash

You already know how animals use refraction or how is refraction used in the natural world by animals, let’s find it out for humans. A refraction is a process that makes image formation possible by the eye. A lot of refraction in the eye happens at the external surface, where the air transitions into the cornea, which is due to the largest change in the index of refraction experienced by the light. It has about 80% of the refraction from the cornea and another 20% in the inner crystalline lens. For a normal eye, the inner lens could change the total focal length of the eye by 7-8%. Also, check out the article, Test To See If You need Glasses.

5. Does Flashlight have refraction?

A flashlight has both reflection and refraction. The light reflects off the reflector, which is placed over the lamp. The reflector re-routes the light rays from the lamp/bulb, which causes a regular beam light. This is the same light you see when you turn the flashlight on. The flashlight uses internal reflection by using a light bulb as a source of light. (See Why do I look different in different mirrors?)

6. Which Part of the Eye has the Strongest Refraction?

As you are aware of how is refraction used in the natural world by animals, you must know that the cornea is the strongest refracting part of the eye. It gives 80% of the power of the system. The cornea’s refractive index is 1.376. The rays pass through the cornea and enter into the watery fluid which is known as aqueous humor. The index of refraction is about 1.336 as most of the refraction is at the cornea air interface. Also, check out why do we have Eyebrows and Eyelashes? 

7. Do Living Organisms Produce their own Light?

Yes, living organisms produce their own light. They do it with the help of bioluminescence, fluorescence, or phosphorescence. It produces a chemical reaction with visible light. 

8. What is the Difference between Reflection and Refraction?

The reflection can be seen in any mirror or any shiny surface. Reflection of light happens when there is no light penetration. Here the light enters and comes back to the same medium. Angles of incidence and reflection are both the same.

Refraction happens in lenses. It occurs when the light passes through the medium, resulting in the bending of light. Light enters the medium and travels to another one. Here, the angle of incidence does not equal the angle of reflection. Must read how many colors are in the rainbow?

9. What are the Examples of Refraction?

Lens of a camera : how is refraction used in the natural world by animals 1
Photo by Brandi Redd on Unsplash

Some interesting refraction examples are:

  • Camera Lens,
  • Prism,
  • A glass of water with a spoon,
  • Glass, and
  • Ice crystals.

10. Why do Object in the Water look Closer?

If you observe things in the water, they look much closer to the surface than they are in reality. This is why refraction causes an illusion of the actual depth of an object in shallow water. It is due to the difference in the refractive index of water and air. 

So, we all rely on this arrangement of refraction for our vision. A refraction is a tool that humans, as well as animals and the natural world, can use. The fact that light moves through different materials at varying rates is what causes the refraction. When light travels through different mediums, its speed changes, causing it to bend. Hope you are clear about how is refraction used in the natural world by animals and how does refraction occur in nature. (See How Does a Magnifying Glass Work)

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