Visual pigments, oil droplets, ocular media and cone photoreceptor distribution in two species of passerine bird: the blue tit (Parus caeruleus L.) and the blackbird (Turdus merula L.)

Hart, N. S., Partridge, J. C., Cuthill, I. C. and Bennett, A. T. D. 2000, Visual pigments, oil droplets, ocular media and cone photoreceptor distribution in two species of passerine bird: the blue tit (Parus caeruleus L.) and the blackbird (Turdus merula L.), Journal of comparative physiology a-sensory neural and behavioral physiology, vol. 186, no. 4, pp. 375-387.

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Title Visual pigments, oil droplets, ocular media and cone photoreceptor distribution in two species of passerine bird: the blue tit (Parus caeruleus L.) and the blackbird (Turdus merula L.)
Author(s) Hart, N. S.
Partridge, J. C.
Cuthill, I. C.
Bennett, A. T. D.
Journal name Journal of comparative physiology a-sensory neural and behavioral physiology
Volume number 186
Issue number 4
Start page 375
End page 387
Publisher Springer
Place of publication Berlin, Germany
Publication date 2000-04
ISSN 0340-7594
1432-1351
Keyword(s) colour vision
avian retina
microspectrophotometry
Summary The spectral absorption characteristics of the retinal photoreceptors of the blue tit (Pal trs caeruleus) and blackbird (Turdus merula) were investigated using microspectrophotometry. The retinae of both species contained rods, double cones and four spectrally distinct types of single cone. Whilst the visual pigments and cone oil droplets in the other receptor types are very similar in both species, the wavelength of maximum sensitivity (lambda(max)) of long-wavelength-sensitive single and double cone visual pigment occurs at a shorter wavelength (557 nm) in the blackbird than in the blue tit (563 nm). Oil droplets located in the long-wavelength-sensitive-single cones of both species cut off wavelengths below 570-573 nm, theoretically shifting cone peak spectral sensitivity some 40 nm towards the long-wavelength end of the spectrum. This raises the possibility that the precise lambda(max) of the long-wavelength-sensitive visual pigment is optimised for the visual function of the double cones. The distribution of cone photoreceptors across the retina, determined using conventional light and fluorescence microscopy also varies between the two species and may reflect differences in their visual ecology.
Language eng
Field of Research 059999 Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30022773

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