Characterization of an ultraviolet photoreception mechanism in the retina of an amphibian, the axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum)

Neurosci Lett. 1995 Sep 8;197(2):93-6. doi: 10.1016/0304-3940(95)11905-c.


Spectral sensitivity measurements from the retina of the Mexican salamander Ambystoma mexicanum (the 'axolotl') were used to provide evidence for and to characterize an amphibian ultraviolet-sensitive photoreception mechanism. Electroretinograms (transretinal voltage responses) were recorded from open eye cup preparations to analyze the spectral sensitivity of the retina. Both dark-adapted and white light-adapted preparations exhibited a peak in sensitivity between 360-370 nm. Under selective chromatic adaptation with long-wavelength light the eye cups continued to exhibit a peak sensitivity around 360 nm. These data confirm the presence of ultraviolet-sensitive cones in the retina of Ambystoma salamanders. The possible relevance of these results to the development and behavior of this group of salamanders is briefly discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Ambystoma mexicanum / growth & development
  • Ambystoma mexicanum / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Electroretinography
  • Larva
  • Logistic Models
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Photoreceptor Cells / radiation effects*
  • Spectrophotometry, Ultraviolet
  • Ultraviolet Rays*