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See all of my posts on arthropod cryptozoology, creationism, and pseudoscience for the Ocean of Pseudoscience blog event at Arthropoda’s new home.
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Animal visual systems are evolutionarily tuned to exploit environmental light towards the purposes of spatial perception, navigation, and intraspecific communication. We predominately experience visual information based on variations in the intensity and the wavelengths of incoming light; perceived as brightness and colors. Other animals however, especially the arthropods, also rely on an additional visual modality with which to perceive their world. They are capable of detecting and discriminating different polarizations of light waves.
I’ve previously discussed how most arthropods detect linearly polarized light (LPL), and last week I summarized the research making mantis shrimp the first animal known to be capable of detecting and discriminating an additional flavor of polarized light, circularly polarized light (CPL). Now, new research has brought a challenger, a jewel scarab beetle (Chrysina gloriosa), into contention for the exclusive CPL sensitivity club. Lets find out how strong the beetle’s case is, and weather the mantis shrimp is going to have to share (begrudgingly, I’m sure) the spotlight.
Read the rest of this post at Arthropoda’s new home, on the Southern Fried Science Network.
Arthropod Roundup: Trilobites (both fossilized and stuffed), velvet worms, animated stomatopods, and deviant water stridersPublished August 17, 2010 Uncategorized Leave a Comment
See this week’s roundup at Arthropoda’s new home on the Southern Fried Science Network.
See the photo at Arthropoda’s new home on the Southern Fried Science Network.
Mantis shrimp have long been regarded as visual super-stars. They can have up to 16 distinct photoreceptor types that are maximally sensitive to at least 12 different wavelengths (colors) of light; from deep in the ultraviolet, across our visual range, and into the infrared. In addition, they are strongly sensitive to linearly polarized light (LPL) and are able to discriminate the angle at which these waves of light are oscillating as they travel through space. This visual modality, though hugely foreign to us, is actually well perceived by cephalopods, some chordates, and almost universally amongst the arthropods. Mantis shrimp however, seemingly never content to be matched, have taken polarization sensitivity a step beyond any other animal. They have evolved an ingenious means of detecting and discriminating circularly polarized light (CPL)…