Retinal ganglion cell topography and spatial resolving power in African megachiropterans: influence of roosting microhabitat and foraging

Coimbra, Joao Paulo, Pettigrew, John D., Kaswera-Kyamakya, Consolate, Gilissen, Emmanuel, Collin, Shaun P. and Manger, Paul R. (2016) Retinal ganglion cell topography and spatial resolving power in African megachiropterans: influence of roosting microhabitat and foraging. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 525 1: 186-203. doi:10.1002/cne.24055

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Author Coimbra, Joao Paulo
Pettigrew, John D.
Kaswera-Kyamakya, Consolate
Gilissen, Emmanuel
Collin, Shaun P.
Manger, Paul R.
Title Retinal ganglion cell topography and spatial resolving power in African megachiropterans: influence of roosting microhabitat and foraging
Journal name Journal of Comparative Neurology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0021-9967
1096-9861
Publication date 2016-07-20
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1002/cne.24055
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 525
Issue 1
Start page 186
End page 203
Total pages 18
Place of publication Hoboken, NJ, United States
Publisher John Wiley & Sons
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Megachiropteran bats (megabats) show remarkable diversity in microhabitat occupation and trophic specializations, but information on how vision relates to their behavioral ecology is scarce. Using stereology and retinal wholemounts, we measured the topographic distribution of retinal ganglion cells and determined the spatial resolution of eight African megachiropterans with distinct roosting and feeding ecologies. We found that species roosting in open microhabitats have a pronounced streak of high retinal ganglion cell density, whereas those favoring more enclosed microhabitats have a less pronounced streak (or its absence in Hypsignathus monstrosus). An exception is the cave-dwelling Rousettus aegyptiacus, which has a pronounced horizontal streak that potentially correlates with its occurrence in more open environments during foraging. In all species, we found a temporal area with maximum retinal ganglion cell density (∼5,000-7,000 cells/mm2) that affords enhanced resolution in the frontal visual field. Our estimates of spatial resolution based on peak retinal ganglion cell density and eye size (∼6-12 mm in axial length) range between ∼2 and 4 cycles/degree. Species that occur in more enclosed microhabitats and feed on plant material have lower spatial resolution (∼2 cycles/degree) compared with those that roost in open and semiopen areas (∼3-3.8 cycles/degree). We suggest that the larger eye and concomitant higher spatial resolution (∼4 cycles/degree) in H. monstrosus may have facilitated the carnivorous aspect of its diet. In conclusion, variations in the topographic organization and magnitude of retinal ganglion density reflect the specific ecological needs to detect food/predators and the structural complexity of the environments.
Keyword RRID: SciRes_000114
RRID: SciRes_000116
Megabats
Megachiropterans
Retinal ganglion cells
Retinal topography
Spatial resolving power
Stereology
Visual ecology
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
Queensland Brain Institute Publications
 
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