A novel eye in 'eyeless' shrimp from hydrothermal vents of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

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.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Van Dover, CL; Szuts, EZ; Chamberlain, SC; Cann, JR

Published Date

  • February 1989

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 337 / 6206

Start / End Page

  • 458 - 460

PubMed ID

  • 2915690

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1476-4687

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0028-0836

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/337458a0


  • eng