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J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol. 2002 Apr;188(3):179-86. Epub 2002 Mar 9.

Tuning of photoreceptor function in three mantis shrimp species that inhabit a range of depths. I. Visual pigments.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Maryland Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA.


Visual pigments in many animal species, including stomatopod crustaceans, are adapted to the photic environments inhabited by that species. However, some species occupy a diversity of environments as adults (such as a range of depths in the ocean), and a single set of visual pigments would not be equally adaptive for all habitats in which individuals live. We characterized the visual pigment complements of three species of stomatopod crustaceans, Haptosquilla trispinosa, Gonodactylellus affinis, and Gonodactylopsis spongicola, which are unusual for this group in that each lives at depths from the subtidal to several tens of meters. Using microspectrophotometry, we determined the visual pigments in all classes of main rhabdoms in individuals of each species from shallow or deep habitats. Each species expressed the typical diversity of visual pigments commonly found in stomatopods, but there was little or no evidence of differential expression of visual pigments in animals of any species collected from different depths. Vision in these species, therefore, is not tuned to spectral characteristics of the photic environment by varying the assemblages of visual pigments appearing in their retinas.

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