Sensory adaptation. Tunable colour vision in a mantis shrimp

Nature. 2001 May 31;411(6837):547-8. doi: 10.1038/35079184.


Systems of colour vision are normally identical in all members of a species, but a single design may not be adequate for species living in a diverse range of light environments. Here we show that in the mantis shrimp Haptosquilla trispinosa, which occupies a range of depths in the ocean, long-wavelength colour receptors are individually tuned to the local light environment. The spectral sensitivity of specific classes of photoreceptor is adjusted by filters that vary between individuals.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Animals
  • Color Perception*
  • Decapoda / physiology*
  • Light