Navigation Links
Mantis shrimp vision reveals new way that animals can see

Mantis shrimp can see the world in a way that had never been observed in any animal before, researchers report in the March 20th Current Biology, a Cell Press publication. The discoverywhich marks the fourth type of visual systemsuggests that the ability to perceive circular polarized light may lend mantis shrimp a secret mode of communication.

Mantis shrimp ventured into a new dimension of vision, said Justin Marshall of the University of Queensland in Australia. Also known as stomatopods, mantis shrimp are large and particularly violent marine crustaceans that arent actually a kind of shrimp but look something like one.

Marshall describes circular polarized light as a spiraling beam that spins either to the left or the right. Scientists had shown before that some animals, such as scarab beetles, reflect that kind of light, but they hadnt shown that any animal could actually see ituntil now, that is.

Its complicated physics, Marshall said, but that makes it all the more amazing that some animals would use it for something. Using it required the stomatopods to evolve a kind of filter in their eyes oriented at a precise 45 degree angle to photoreceptors underneath that pick up on linearly polarized light. The filter turns the circularly polarized light into its linear form. Many animals make use of linearly polarized light, Marshall said. To people, however, it is only glare, hence the need for polarized sun glasses.

In the new study, the researchers describe the anatomical basis for stomatopods remarkable vision in detail and show that these structures are stimulated when circular polarized light shines into them. They also offer behavioral proof of the stomatopods ability by training them to associate either left-handed or right-handed circular polarized light (L-CPL or R-CPL) with a food reward.

During tests, when no food was present, the researchers presented the animals with two feeding tubes, one reflecting L-CPL and the other R-CPL. The stomatopods chose the tube reflecting the CPL handedness to which they had originally been trained at levels significantly above chance, the researchers found.

Although its not yet clear exactly what the mantis shrimps newfound visual ability is good for in nature, Marshall said its likely all about sex.

Stomatopods are known to use highly specialized color and linear polarization signals for complex social interactions, he noted. And by using circular-polarization imaging, his team has identified three species of stomatopods (within the genus Odontodactus) where CPL is reflected from the cuticles of males but not females. Those sex-specific reflective areas are on parts of the body that stomatopods frequently use for behavioral displays.

The precise role that these signals, visible to a CPL visual system, play in stomatopod sexual signaling is not yet known, but we speculate that these CPL reflections could act as a secret communication channel, the researchers concluded. Linear polarization signals, used by marine invertebrates, are visible to animals like cephalopods that prey on stomatopods and are therefore open to exploitation. Also, other genera of stomatopods that we have examined have variable CPL sensitivity, and may be unable to view the sexual displays of Odontodactylus species, making this a private channel of communication, unavailable to both predators and potential stomatopod competitors.

Whatever the use of CPL signals and CPL vision to stomatopods, comparing design features of their CPL reflectors and sensors to those of man-made systems will be interesting, they added. Humans use CPL filters and imaging in everyday photography, medical photography, and object-detection systems in turbid environments. The reefs and waters that many stomatopods inhabit are often turbid, and it is perhaps no surprise that, perhaps as long as 400 million years ago (when stomatopod crustaceans first appeared), nature got there first.


Contact: Cathleen Genova
Cell Press

Related biology news :

1. Global trade in tiger shrimp threatens environment
2. A unique arrangement for egg cell division
3. USC biomedical team to participate in $6 million low vision project
4. UCSB researchers discover the dawn of animal vision
5. Twinkle after-effect can help retinal patients detect vision loss quickly and cheaply
6. Hybridization partially restores vision in cavefish, NYU study finds
7. Integral Vision, Inc. Announces SharpEye(TM) Order From New Customer
8. New technology sharpens X-ray vision
9. Scientists find color vision system independent of motion detection
10. Childhood obesity indicates greater risk of school absenteeism, Penn study reveals
11. Structure of 450 million year old protein reveals evolutions steps
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/17/2015)... 17, 2015  Vigilant Solutions announces today that Mr. ... of Directors. --> --> ... from the partnership at TPG Capital, one of the ... $140 Billion in revenue.  He founded and led TPG,s ... TPG companies, from 1997 to 2013.  In his first ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... CAMBRIDGE, Mass. , Nov. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard for use ... chemical discovery information management tools. The partnership will ... share both biological and chemical research information internally ... tools will be used for managing the Institute,s ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... , Nov. 10, 2015 ... behavioral biometrics that helps to identify and verify ... Signature is considered as the secure and accurate ... identification of a particular individual because each individual,s ... accurate results especially when dynamic signature of an ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... and HOLLISTON, Mass. , ... Inc. (Nasdaq: HART ), a biotechnology company developing ... CEO Jim McGorry will present at the ... 1, 2015 at 2:30 p.m. PT. The presentation will ... for 30 days. Management will also be available at ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... SAN DIEGO , Nov. 25, 2015 ... that management will participate in a fireside chat discussion ... New York . The discussion is ... Time. .  A replay will ... Contact:  Media Contact:McDavid Stilwell  , Julie NormartVP, Corporate ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced Dr. Bruce Clarke, of ... since 1961, the USGA Green Section Award recognizes an individual’s distinguished service to the ... of Iselin, N.J., is an extension specialist of turfgrass pathology in the department of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Copper is ... it is bound to proteins, copper is also toxic to cells. With a ... Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will conduct a systematic study of copper in the bacteria ...
Breaking Biology Technology: