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Light and Vision in the Deep-Sea Benthos: II. Vision in Deep-Sea Crustaceans
Journal of Experimental Biology
  • Tamara M. Frank, Nova Southeastern University
  • Sönke Johnsen, Duke University
  • Thomas W. Cronin, University of Maryland
Document Type
Publication Date
  • Vision,
  • Deep-sea,
  • Benthic,
  • Bioluminescence
Using new collecting techniques with the Johnson-Sea-Link submersible, eight species of deep-sea benthic crustaceans were collected with intact visual systems. Their spectral sensitivities and temporal resolutions were determined shipboard using electroretinography. Useable spectral sensitivity data were obtained from seven species, and in the dark-adapted eyes, the spectral sensitivity peaks were in the blue region of the visible spectrum, ranging from 470 to 497 nm. Under blue chromatic adaptation, a secondary sensitivity peak in the UV portion of the spectrum appeared for two species of anomuran crabs:Eumunida picta (λmax 363 nm) and Gastroptychus spinifer (λmax 383 nm). Wavelength-specific differences in response waveforms under blue chromatic adaptation in these two species suggest that two populations of photoreceptor cells are present. Temporal resolution was determined in all eight species using the maximum critical flicker frequency (CFFmax). The CFFmax for the isopodBooralana tricarinata of 4 Hz proved to be the lowest ever measured using this technique, and suggests that this species is not able to track even slow-moving prey. Both the putative dual visual pigment system in the crabs and the extremely slow eye of the isopod may be adaptations for seeing bioluminescence in the benthic environment.

©2012. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd

Additional Comments

National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration grant #s: NA050AR4601059, NA07OAR46000289, NA09OAR4600095; National Science Foundation grant #s: OCE-0852138, IOS-0721608; Office of Naval Research grant #: N00014-09-1-1053; Air Force Office of Scientific Research grant #: FA9550-09-1-0149

Citation Information
Tamara M. Frank, Sönke Johnsen and Thomas W. Cronin. "Light and Vision in the Deep-Sea Benthos: II. Vision in Deep-Sea Crustaceans" Journal of Experimental Biology Vol. 215 Iss. 19 (2012) p. 3344 - 3353 ISSN: 0022-0949
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