Circularly polarized light as a communication signal in mantis shrimps

Gagnon, Yakir Luc, Templin, Rachel Marie, How, Martin John and Marshall, N. Justin (2015) Circularly polarized light as a communication signal in mantis shrimps. Current Biology, 25 23: 3074-3078. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2015.10.047

Author Gagnon, Yakir Luc
Templin, Rachel Marie
How, Martin John
Marshall, N. Justin
Title Circularly polarized light as a communication signal in mantis shrimps
Journal name Current Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0960-9822
Publication date 2015-01-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2015.10.047
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 25
Issue 23
Start page 3074
End page 3078
Total pages 5
Place of publication Cambridge, MA, United States
Publisher Cell Press
Language eng
Subject 1300 Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
1100 Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Abstract Animals that communicate using conspicuous body patterns face a trade-off between desired detection by intended receivers and undesired detection from eavesdropping predators, prey, rivals, or parasites [1-10]. In some cases, this trade-off favors the evolution of signals that are both hidden from predators and visible to conspecifics. Animals may produce covert signals using a property of light that is invisible to those that they wish to evade, allowing them to hide in plain sight (e.g., dragonfish can see their own, otherwise rare, red bioluminescence [11-13]). The use of the polarization of light is a good example of a potentially covert communication channel, as very few vertebrates are known to use polarization for object-based vision [14, 15]. However, even these patterns are vulnerable to eavesdroppers, as sensitivity to the linearly polarized component of light is widespread among invertebrates due to their intrinsically polarization sensitive photoreceptors [14, 16]. Stomatopod crustaceans appear to have gone one step further in this arms race and have evolved a sensitivity to the circular polarization of light, along with body patterns producing it [17]. However, to date we have no direct evidence that any of these marine crustaceans use this modality to communicate with conspecifics. We therefore investigated circular polarization vision of the mantis shrimp Gonodactylaceus falcatus [18] and demonstrate that (1) the species produces strongly circularly polarized body patterns, (2) they discriminate the circular polarization of light, and (3) that they use circular polarization information to avoid occupied burrows when seeking a refuge.
Keyword Circular polarization
Visual ecology
Gonodactylaceus falcatus
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Queensland Brain Institute Publications
Official 2016 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 11 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 10 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 08 Dec 2015, 21:04:35 EST by Susan Day on behalf of Queensland Brain Institute