Spectral absorption of visual pigments in stomatopod larval photoreceptors

Kathryn D. Feller, Thomas W. Cronin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Larval stomatopod eyes appear to be much simpler versions of adult compound eyes, lacking most of the visual pigment diversity and photoreceptor specializations. Our understanding of the visual pigment diversity of larval stomatopods, however, is based on four species, which severely limits our understanding of stomatopod eye ontogeny. To investigate several poorly understood aspects of stomatopod larval eye function, we tested two hypotheses surrounding the spectral absorption of larval visual pigments. First, we examined a broad range of species to determine if stomatopod larvae generally express a single, spectral class of photoreceptor. Using microspectrophotometry (MSP) on larvae captured in the field, we found data which further support this long-standing hypothesis. MSP was also used to test whether larval species from the same geographical region express visual pigments with similar absorption spectra. Interestingly, despite occupation of the same geographical location, we did not find evidence to support our second hypothesis. Rather, there was significant variation in visual pigment absorption spectra among sympatric species. These data are important to further our understanding of larval photoreceptor spectral diversity, which is beneficial to ongoing investigations into the ontogeny, physiology, and molecular evolution of stomatopod eyes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-223
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, The Author(s).


  • Larva
  • Microspectrophotometry
  • Stomatopod
  • Visual ecology
  • Visual pigment


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