SUMMARY Visual control of flight speed in honeybees ( Apis mellifera L.)was investigated by training them to fly through a specially constructed tunnel in which the motion, contrast and texture of the patterns lining the walls could be varied. Manipulation of pattern motion revealed that the speed of flight is controlled by regulating the image motion that is experienced by the eyes. Flight speed is surprisingly robust to changes in the contrast and/or spatial texture of the visual environment, suggesting that the underlying movement-detecting mechanisms estimate the speed of image motion in the eye largely independently of these parameters. This ensures that flight speed depends primarily on the distances to nearby surfaces and not upon their particular visual properties, such as contrast or visual texture. The removal of image motion cues drastically compromises the regulation of flight speed,underscoring their role in this function.