Colour vision in billfish

Fritsches, K. A., Partridge, J. C., Pettigrew, J. D. and Marshall, N. J. (2000) Colour vision in billfish. Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society of London Series B-biological Sciences, 355 1401: 1253-1256.

Author Fritsches, K. A.
Partridge, J. C.
Pettigrew, J. D.
Marshall, N. J.
Title Colour vision in billfish
Journal name Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society of London Series B-biological Sciences   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0962-8436
Publication date 2000-01-01
Sub-type Letter to editor, brief commentary or brief communication
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 355
Issue 1401
Start page 1253
End page 1256
Total pages 4
Editor S. Zeki
Place of publication London
Publisher The Royal Society
Language eng
Subject 270502 Neurobiology
780105 Biological sciences
Abstract Members of the billfish family are highly visual predatory teleosts inhabiting the open ocean. Little is known about their visual abilities in detail, but past studies have indicated that these fishes were:ere likely to be monochromats. This study however, presents evidence of two anatomically distinct cone types in billfish. The cells are arranged in a regular mosaic pattern of single and twin cones as in many fishes, and this arrangement suggests that the different cone types also show different spectral sensitivity, which is the basis for colour vision. First measurements using microspectrophotometry (MSP) revealed a peak absorption of the rod pigment at 484 nm, indicating that MSP, despite technical difficulties, will be a decisive tool in proving colour vision in these offshore fishes. When hunting, billfish such as the sailfish flash bright blue bars on their sides. This colour reflects largely in ultraviolet (UV) light at 350 nm as revealed by spectrophotometric measurements. Billfish lenses block light of wavelengths below 400 nm, presumably rendering the animal blind to the UV component of its own body colour. Interestingly at least two prey species of billfish have lenses transmitting light in the UV waveband and are therefore likely to perceive a large fraction of the UV peak found in the blue bar of the sailfish. The possible biological significance of this finding is discussed.
Keyword Biology
Colour Vision
Visual Pigments
Blue Marlin
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Letter to editor, brief commentary or brief communication
Collection: School of Biomedical Sciences Publications
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Created: Mon, 13 Aug 2007, 22:00:02 EST