A novel eye in 'eyeless' shrimp from hydrothermal vents of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.
Rimicaris exoculata is a shrimp that swarms over high-temperature (350 degrees C) sulphide chimneys at Mid-Atlantic Ridge hydrothermal fields (3,600 m). This shrimp lacks an externally differentiated eye, having instead a pair of large organs within the cephalothorax immediately beneath the dorsal surface of the transparent carapace, connected by large nerve tracts to the supraesophageal ganglion. These organs contain a visual pigment with an absorption spectrum characteristic of rhodopsin. Ultrastructural evidence for degraded rhabdomeral material suggests the presence of photoreceptors. No image-forming optics are associated with the organs. We interpret these organs as being eyes adapted for detection of low-level illumination and suggest that they evolved in response to a source of radiation associated with the environment of hydrothermal vents.
Van Dover, CL; Szuts, EZ; Chamberlain, SC; Cann, JR
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