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Ultraviolet vision in birds: the importance of transparent eye media.

Lind, Olle LU ; Mitkus, Mindaugas LU ; Olsson, Peter LU and Kelber, Almut LU (2014) In Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences 281(1774).
Abstract
Ultraviolet (UV)-sensitive visual pigments are widespread in the animal kingdom but many animals, for example primates, block UV light from reaching their retina by pigmented lenses. Birds have UV-sensitive (UVS) visual pigments with sensitivity maxima around 360-373 nm (UVS) or 402-426 nm (violet-sensitive, VS). We describe how these pigments are matched by the ocular media transmittance in 38 bird species. Birds with UVS pigments have ocular media that transmit more UV light (wavelength of 50% transmittance, λT0.5, 323 nm) than birds with VS pigments (λT0.5, 358 nm). Yet, visual models predict that colour discrimination in bright light is mostly dependent on the visual pigment (UVS or VS) and little on the ocular media. We hypothesize... (More)
Ultraviolet (UV)-sensitive visual pigments are widespread in the animal kingdom but many animals, for example primates, block UV light from reaching their retina by pigmented lenses. Birds have UV-sensitive (UVS) visual pigments with sensitivity maxima around 360-373 nm (UVS) or 402-426 nm (violet-sensitive, VS). We describe how these pigments are matched by the ocular media transmittance in 38 bird species. Birds with UVS pigments have ocular media that transmit more UV light (wavelength of 50% transmittance, λT0.5, 323 nm) than birds with VS pigments (λT0.5, 358 nm). Yet, visual models predict that colour discrimination in bright light is mostly dependent on the visual pigment (UVS or VS) and little on the ocular media. We hypothesize that the precise spectral tuning of the ocular media is mostly relevant for detecting weak UV signals, e.g. in dim hollow-nests of passerines and parrots. The correlation between eye size and UV transparency of the ocular media suggests little or no lens pigmentation. Therefore, only small birds gain the full advantage from shifting pigment sensitivity from VS to UVS. On the other hand, some birds with VS pigments have unexpectedly low UV transmission of the ocular media, probably because of UV blocking lens pigmentation. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
ocular media transmittance, ultraviolet sensitivity, colour vision, bird, evolution
in
Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences
volume
281
issue
1774
publisher
Royal Society
external identifiers
  • pmid:24258716
  • wos:000332380200006
  • scopus:84902683110
ISSN
1471-2954
DOI
10.1098/rspb.2013.2209
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
1c06ed1b-8a97-41eb-b14c-440d785e7da5 (old id 4179071)
date added to LUP
2014-01-07 16:52:28
date last changed
2017-11-19 03:03:12
@article{1c06ed1b-8a97-41eb-b14c-440d785e7da5,
  abstract     = {Ultraviolet (UV)-sensitive visual pigments are widespread in the animal kingdom but many animals, for example primates, block UV light from reaching their retina by pigmented lenses. Birds have UV-sensitive (UVS) visual pigments with sensitivity maxima around 360-373 nm (UVS) or 402-426 nm (violet-sensitive, VS). We describe how these pigments are matched by the ocular media transmittance in 38 bird species. Birds with UVS pigments have ocular media that transmit more UV light (wavelength of 50% transmittance, λT0.5, 323 nm) than birds with VS pigments (λT0.5, 358 nm). Yet, visual models predict that colour discrimination in bright light is mostly dependent on the visual pigment (UVS or VS) and little on the ocular media. We hypothesize that the precise spectral tuning of the ocular media is mostly relevant for detecting weak UV signals, e.g. in dim hollow-nests of passerines and parrots. The correlation between eye size and UV transparency of the ocular media suggests little or no lens pigmentation. Therefore, only small birds gain the full advantage from shifting pigment sensitivity from VS to UVS. On the other hand, some birds with VS pigments have unexpectedly low UV transmission of the ocular media, probably because of UV blocking lens pigmentation.},
  articleno    = {20132209},
  author       = {Lind, Olle and Mitkus, Mindaugas and Olsson, Peter and Kelber, Almut},
  issn         = {1471-2954},
  keyword      = {ocular media transmittance,ultraviolet sensitivity,colour vision,bird,evolution},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1774},
  publisher    = {Royal Society},
  series       = {Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences},
  title        = {Ultraviolet vision in birds: the importance of transparent eye media.},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2013.2209},
  volume       = {281},
  year         = {2014},
}