Photoreceptor projection and termination pattern in the lamina of gonodactyloid stomatopods (mantis shrimp)

Cell Tissue Res. 2005 Aug;321(2):273-84. doi: 10.1007/s00441-005-1118-4. Epub 2005 Jun 10.


The apposition compound eyes of gonodactyloid stomatopods are divided into a ventral and a dorsal hemisphere by six equatorial rows of enlarged ommatidia, the mid-band (MB). Whereas the hemispheres are specialized for spatial vision, the MB consists of four dorsal rows of ommatidia specialized for colour vision and two ventral rows specialized for polarization vision. The eight retinula cell axons (RCAs) from each ommatidium project retinotopically onto one corresponding lamina cartridge, so that the three retinal data streams (spatial, colour and polarization) remain anatomically separated. This study investigates whether the retinal specializations are reflected in differences in the RCA arrangement within the corresponding lamina cartridges. We have found that, in all three eye regions, the seven short visual fibres (svfs) formed by retinula cells 1-7 (R1-R7) terminate at two distinct lamina levels, geometrically separating the terminals of photoreceptors sensitive to either orthogonal e-vector directions or different wavelengths of light. This arrangement is required for the establishment of spectral and polarization opponency mechanisms. The long visual fibres (lvfs) of the eighth retinula cells (R8) pass through the lamina and project retinotopically to the distal medulla externa. Differences between the three eye regions exist in the packing of svf terminals and in the branching patterns of the lvfs within the lamina. We hypothesize that the R8 cells of MB rows 1-4 are incorporated into the colour vision system formed by R1-R7, whereas the R8 cells of MB rows 5 and 6 form a separate neural channel from R1 to R7 for polarization processing.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Color Perception / physiology
  • Crustacea / physiology
  • Crustacea / ultrastructure*
  • Eye / ultrastructure*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Invertebrate / physiology
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Invertebrate / ultrastructure*
  • Presynaptic Terminals / physiology
  • Presynaptic Terminals / ultrastructure*
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / physiology
  • Species Specificity
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology
  • Visual Pathways / ultrastructure*