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Vision Res. 1994 Jun;34(11):1443-52.

Ultraviolet photoreception in mantis shrimp.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Maryland Baltimore County 21228.


An UV-sensitive class of photoreceptors exists in all regions of the retinas of mantis shrimps. UV photosensitivity apparently resides in rhabdomeres of the eighth retinular cell (R8) that lies atop each rhabdom; and in ommatidia where the R8 rhabdomere consists of microvilli parallel in a single direction, sensitivity is maximal when the e-vector of plane-polarized light is parallel to the microvilli. Spectral sensitivity of the UV photoreceptor peaks at 345 nm and is best explained by the presence of a photopigment with lambda max near 325 nm overlain by material that absorbs UV light at wavelengths below approximately 350 nm. Rhabdomeres of R8 cells in several different retinal regions of a variety of species examined contain a photopigment absorbing maximally below 340 nm. Under appropriate conditions, a metapigment with lambda max near 460 nm can be formed. UV vision may be useful for enhancing the visual contrast of midwater predators or prey.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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