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J Exp Biol. 2003 Jan;206(Pt 2):373-9.

Adaptive color vision in Pullosquilla litoralis (Stomatopoda, Lysiosquilloidea) associated with spectral and intensity changes in light environment.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA.


Some stomatopod crustacean species that inhabit a range of habitat depths have color vision systems that adapt to changes in ambient light conditions. To date, this change in retinal function has been demonstrated in species within the superfamily Gonodactyloidea in response to varying the spectral range of light. Intrarhabdomal filters in certain ommatidia within the specialized midband of the eye change spectrally, modifying the sensitivity of underlying photoreceptors to match the spectrum of available light. In the present study, we utilized Pullosquilla litoralis, a member of the superfamily Lysiosquilloidea that also has a wide depth range. Individuals were placed within one of three light treatments: (1) full-spectrum, high-intensity 'white' light, (2) narrow-spectrum 'blue' light and (3) full-spectrum, reduced-intensity 'gray' light. After 3 months, the intrarhabdomal filters in Row 3 ommatidia of the midband in blue- and gray-light-treated animals were short-wavelength shifted by 10-20 nm compared with homologous filters in animals in white-light treatments. These spectral changes increase the relative sensitivity of associated photoreceptors in animals that inhabit environments where light spectral range or intensity is reduced. The adaptable color vision system of stomatopods may allow animals to make the best use of the ambient light occurring at their habitat regardless of depth. The major controlling element of the plasticity in lysiosquilloid stomatopod color vision appears to be light intensity rather than spectral distribution.

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