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J Comp Neurol. 2003 Dec 15;467(3):326-42.

Neuroarchitecture of the color and polarization vision system of the stomatopod Haptosquilla.

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Vision, Touch, and Hearing Research Centre, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, The University of Queensland, Brisbane QLD 4072, Australia.


The apposition compound eyes of stomatopod crustaceans contain a morphologically distinct eye region specialized for color and polarization vision, called the mid-band. In two stomatopod superfamilies, the mid-band is constructed from six rows of enlarged ommatidia containing multiple photoreceptor classes for spectral and polarization vision. The aim of this study was to begin to analyze the underlying neuroarchitecture, the design of which might reveal clues how the visual system interprets and communicates to deeper levels of the brain the multiple channels of information supplied by the retina. Reduced silver methods were used to investigate the axon pathways from different retinal regions to the lamina ganglionaris and from there to the medulla externa, the medulla interna, and the medulla terminalis. A swollen band of neuropil-here termed the accessory lobe-projects across the equator of the lamina ganglionaris, the medulla externa, and the medulla interna and represents, structurally, the retina's mid-band. Serial semithin and ultrathin resin sections were used to reconstruct the projection of photoreceptor axons from the retina to the lamina ganglionaris. The eight axons originating from one ommatidium project to the same lamina cartridge. Seven short visual fibers end at two distinct levels in each lamina cartridge, thus geometrically separating the two channels of polarization and spectral information. The eighth visual fiber runs axially through the cartridge and terminates in the medulla externa. We conclude that spatial, color, and polarization information is divided into three parallel data streams from the retina to the central nervous system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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