Microspectrophotometric demonstration of four classes of photoreceptor in an old world primate, Macaca fascicularis

J Physiol. 1980 Jan:298:131-43. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1980.sp013071.


1. Microspectrophotometric measurements reveal four classes of photoreceptor in the retina of the cynomolgus monkey, Macaca fascicularis, which is known to possess colour vision similar to that of a normal human trichromat. 2. Although the eyes were removed in bright illumination, the densities of pigment were comparable to those we have measured in dark-adapted rhesus retinae. 3. The mean wave-lengths of peak sensitivity (lambda max) for the four classes of photoreceptor were 415, 500, 535 and 567 nm. 4. The band widths of the absorbance spectra decreased linearly as the wave-number of peak sensitivity decreased. 5. If, by assuming a reasonable value for the axial density of the rod outer segment and correcting for lens absorption, a spectral sensitivity for human vision is reconstructed from the P500 pigment, it is found to be systematically broader than the CIE scotopic sensitivity function. 6. Given explicit assumptions, it is possible from the P535 and P567 pigments to reconstruct human psychophysical sensitivities that resemble the pi 4 and pi 5 mechanisms of W. S. Stiles. 7. Although the P415 pigment has a lambda max much shorter than that of the psychophysically measured blue mechanisms, the two spectral-sensitivity functions are brought into proximity when the microspectrophotometric data are corrected for absorption by the optic media.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Color Perception / physiology
  • Haplorhini
  • Macaca / physiology*
  • Macaca fascicularis / physiology*
  • Photoreceptor Cells / classification*
  • Photoreceptor Cells / physiology
  • Retinal Pigments / physiology
  • Spectrophotometry


  • Retinal Pigments