Spectral mechanisms and color vision in the tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri)

Vision Res. 1986;26(2):291-8. doi: 10.1016/0042-6989(86)90026-x.


The retina of the tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri) is heavily cone dominated, rods comprising less than 4% of the total photoreceptors. Spectral mechanisms and color vision were investigated in this species in both behavioral and electrophysiological experiments. In confirmation of an earlier investigation, the tree shrew was found to have a clear spectral neutral point (at ca 505 nm) and is thus a dichromat. Spectral sensitivity functions determined in an increment threshold discrimination task show two clear peaks (at ca 440 and 550-560 nm) with an intermediate region of lowered sensitivity centered at about 500 nm. Spectral sensitivity of the two cone types in this animal were determined using ERG flicker photometry. One of these cone classes has a peak at 556 nm; the other has a 444 nm peak.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Color Perception / physiology*
  • Discrimination, Psychological / physiology
  • Electroretinography
  • Flicker Fusion / physiology
  • Male
  • Photoreceptor Cells / physiology
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology
  • Spectrophotometry
  • Tupaia / physiology*
  • Tupaiidae / physiology*