Visual pigment processes and prolonged pupillary responses in insect photoreceptor cells

Biophys Struct Mech. 1979;5(2-3):175-85. doi: 10.1007/BF00535446.


The visual pigment in the peripheral retinular cells of the hoverfly Syrphus balteatus was investigated by absorbance difference measurements. Different visual pigments were found in the dorsal versus the ventral part of the eye in the male, but not in the female. In the male in the dorsal part of the eye the visual pigment has an isosbestic point at 513 nm; in the ventral part this value is 490 nm. The latter value is found in the female in both parts of the eye. Prolonged pupillary responses were studied in the male Syrphus and appeared to be most marked in the ventral part of the eye. In both hoverfly and blowfly prolonged pupillary responses are induced by short wavelength light only; i.e., by light which excessively can convert rhodopsin into metarhodopsin. By contrast, in butterflies red light (and a long dark adaptation time) is necessary to evoke a prolonged pupillary response. It was demonstrated in both hoverfly and blowfly that long wavelength light, which reconverts metarhodopsin into rhodopsin, inhibits a prolonged pupillary response; or, accelerates pupil opening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Insecta / physiology*
  • Male
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Invertebrate / physiology*
  • Pupil / physiology*
  • Reflex / physiology*
  • Retinal Pigments / physiology*
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology*


  • Retinal Pigments