Ultraviolet vision in mantis shrimp

Meeting Abstract

84.2  Friday, Jan. 6  Ultraviolet vision in mantis shrimp BOK, M.J.*; PORTER, M.L.; CRONIN, T.W.; University of Maryland, Baltimore County; University of Maryland, Baltimore County; University of Maryland, Baltimore County mikebok@gmail.com

Stomatopod crustaceans, or mantis shrimp, possess some of the most notable visual systems known to biology. Their visual ecology has been characterized in great detail, showing that many species of this order are capable of advanced color and polarization discrimination. The photoreceptors of stomatopod compound eyes are maximally sensitive to at least ten separate wavelengths of light in the human visible range, from 400 to 700 nm. Stomatopod photoreceptors have also been shown to be maximally sensitive to at least five discrete wavelengths of ultraviolet (UV) light, between 310 and 380 nm, as well as orthogonal polarization angles of UV light. Little is known about the visual pigments or spectral tuning mechanisms at work in these UV-sensitive photoreceptors. Here we report on preliminary molecular investigations of short wavelength-sensitive opsin transcripts in the retina, and spectroscopic measurements from the optical components of the eye. These findings suggest that multiple UV-absorbing visual pigments and novel optical filters are responsible for the surprising diversity of spectral sensitivities observed in stomatopod UV photoreceptors. Furthermore, comparative analysis of these tuning mechanisms alongside preliminary behavioral experiments may indicate a variety of UV spectral tuning mechanisms, and UV visual capabilities, across different species of stomatopods.

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