Spectral sensitivity of cones of the monkey Macaca fascicularis

J Physiol. 1987 Sep;390:145-60. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1987.sp016691.


1. Spectral sensitivities of cones in the retina of cynomolgus monkeys were determined by recording photocurrents from single outer segments with a suction electrode. 2. The amplitude and shape of the response to a flash depended upon the number of photons absorbed but not the wave-length, so that the 'Principle of Univariance' was obeyed. 3. Spectra were obtained from five 'blue', twenty 'green', and sixteen 'red' cones. The wave-lengths of maximum sensitivity were approximately 430, 531 and 561 nm, respectively. 4. The spectra of the three types of cones had similar shapes when plotted on a log wave number scale, and were fitted by an empirical expression. 5. There was no evidence for the existence of subclasses of cones with different spectral sensitivities. Within a class, the positions of the individual spectra on the wave-length axis showed a standard deviation of less than 1.5 nm. 6. Psychophysical results on human colour matching (Stiles & Burch, 1955; Stiles & Burch, 1959) were well predicted from the spectral sensitivities of the monkey cones. After correction for pre-retinal absorption and pigment self-screening, the spectra of the red and green cones matched the respective pi 5 and pi 4 mechanisms of Stiles (1953, 1959).

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Color Perception / physiology*
  • Light
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Photoreceptor Cells / physiology*
  • Time Factors