Spectral tuning in the eyes of deep-sea lanternfishes (Myctophidae): a novel sexually dimorphic intra-ocular filter

de Busserolles, Fanny, Hart, Nathan S., Hunt, David M., Davies, Wayne I., Marshall, N. Justin, Clarke, Michael W., Hahne, Dorothee and Collin, Shaun P. (2015) Spectral tuning in the eyes of deep-sea lanternfishes (Myctophidae): a novel sexually dimorphic intra-ocular filter. Brain, Behavior and Evolution, 85 2: 77-93. doi:10.1159/000371652

Author de Busserolles, Fanny
Hart, Nathan S.
Hunt, David M.
Davies, Wayne I.
Marshall, N. Justin
Clarke, Michael W.
Hahne, Dorothee
Collin, Shaun P.
Title Spectral tuning in the eyes of deep-sea lanternfishes (Myctophidae): a novel sexually dimorphic intra-ocular filter
Journal name Brain, Behavior and Evolution   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0006-8977
Publication date 2015-05
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1159/000371652
Volume 85
Issue 2
Start page 77
End page 93
Total pages 17
Place of publication Basel, Switzerland
Publisher S. Karger AG
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Deep-sea fishes possess several adaptations to facilitate vision where light detection is pushed to its limit. Lanternfishes (Myctophidae), one of the world's most abundant groups of mesopelagic fishes, possess a novel and unique visual specialisation, a sexually dimorphic photostable yellow pigmentation, constituting the first record of a visual sexual dimorphism in any non-primate vertebrate. The topographic distribution of the yellow pigmentation across the retina is species specific, varying in location, shape and size. Spectrophotometric analyses reveal that this new retinal specialisation differs between species in terms of composition and acts as a filter, absorbing maximally between 356 and 443 nm. Microspectrophotometry and molecular analyses indicate that the species containing this pigmentation also possess at least 2 spectrally distinct rod visual pigments as a result of a duplication of the Rh1 opsin gene. After modelling the effect of the yellow pigmentation on photoreceptor spectral sensitivity, we suggest that this unique specialisation acts as a filter to enhance contrast, thereby improving the detection of bioluminescent emissions and possibly fluorescence in the extreme environment of the deep sea. The fact that this yellow pigmentation is species specific, sexually dimorphic and isolated within specific parts of the retina indicates an evolutionary pressure to visualise prey/predators/mates in a particular part of each species' visual field.
Keyword Bioluminescence
Retinal filter
Sexual dimorphism
Spectral tuning
Yellow pigment
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 2016 Collection
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 2 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 2 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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