A novel function for a carotenoid: astaxanthin used as a polarizer for visual signalling in a mantis shrimp

Chiou, Tsyr-Huei, Place, Allen R., Caldwell, Roy L., Marshall, N. Justin and Cronin, Thomas W. (2012) A novel function for a carotenoid: astaxanthin used as a polarizer for visual signalling in a mantis shrimp. Journal of Experimental Biology, 215 4: 584-589.


Author Chiou, Tsyr-Huei
Place, Allen R.
Caldwell, Roy L.
Marshall, N. Justin
Cronin, Thomas W.
Title A novel function for a carotenoid: astaxanthin used as a polarizer for visual signalling in a mantis shrimp
Journal name Journal of Experimental Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0022-0949
1477-9145
Publication date 2012-02
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1242/jeb.066019
Volume 215
Issue 4
Start page 584
End page 589
Total pages 6
Place of publication Cambridge, United Kingdom
Publisher The Company of Biologists
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Abstract Biological signals based on color patterns are well known, but some animals communicate by producing patterns of polarized light. Known biological polarizers are all based on physical interactions with light such as birefringence, differential reflection or scattering. We describe a novel biological polarizer in a marine crustacean based on linear dichroism of a carotenoid molecule. The red-colored, dichroic ketocarotenoid pigment astaxanthin is deposited in the antennal scale of a stomatopod crustacean, Odontodactylus scyllarus. Positive correlation between partial polarization and the presence of astaxanthin indicates that the antennal scale polarizes light with astaxanthin. Both the optical properties and the fine structure of the polarizationally active cuticle suggest that the dipole axes of the astaxanthin molecules are oriented nearly normal to the surface of the antennal scale. While dichroic retinoids are used as visual pigment chromophores to absorb and detect polarized light, this is the first demonstration of the use of a carotenoid to produce a polarizing signal. By using the intrinsic dichroism of the carotenoid molecule and orienting the molecule in tissue, nature has engineered a previously undescribed form of biological polarizer.
Keyword Stomatopod
Polarized light
Carotenoid
Astaxanthin
Linear dichroism
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Queensland Brain Institute Publications
Official 2013 Collection
 
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