Spectral sensitivity of the concave mirror eyes of scallops: potential influences of habitat, self-screening and longitudinal chromatic aberration.


Journal Article

Scallop eyes contain two retinas, one proximal and one distal. Molecular evidence suggests that each retina expresses a different visual pigment. To test whether these retinas have different spectral sensitivities, we used microspectrophotometry to measure the absorption spectra of photoreceptors from the eyes of two different scallop species. Photoreceptors from the proximal and distal retinas of the sea scallop Placopecten magellanicus had absorption peak wavelengths (λ(max)) of 488 ± 1 nm (mean ± s.e.m.; N=20) and 513 ± 3 nm (N=26), respectively. Photoreceptors from the corresponding retinas of the bay scallop Argopecten irradians had λ(max) values of 506 ± 1 nm (N=21) and 535 ± 3 nm (N=14). Assuming that the proximal and distal receptors had equal absorption coefficients (k(D)=0.0067 microm(-1)), we found that self-screening within the scallop eye caused the proximal and distal receptors in P. magellanicus to have peak absorption at 490 and 520 nm, respectively, and the corresponding receptors in A. irradians to have peak absorption at 504 and 549 nm. We conclude that environment may influence the λ(max) of scallop visual pigments: P. magellanicus, generally found in blue oceanic water, has visual pigments that are maximally sensitive to shorter wavelengths than those found in A. irradians, which lives in greener inshore water. Scallop distal retinas may be sensitive to longer wavelengths of light than scallop proximal retinas to correct for either self-screening by the retinas or longitudinal chromatic aberration of the lens.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Speiser, DI; Loew, ER; Johnsen, S

Published Date

  • February 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 214 / Pt 3

Start / End Page

  • 422 - 431

PubMed ID

  • 21228201

Pubmed Central ID

  • 21228201

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1477-9145

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-0949

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1242/jeb.048108


  • eng