How mantis shrimp see circularly polarized light

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)…

Read more at Arthropoda’s new home, on the Southern Fried Science Network.

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2 Responses to “How mantis shrimp see circularly polarized light”


  1. 1 Landscape Gardeners North London December 6, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    That’s very informational piece of writing!

  2. 2 vegetarian December 7, 2011 at 5:34 am

    What a truly joy of a read..


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I have moved.
Arthropoda can now be found here.

Michael Bok is a graduate student studying the visual system of mantis shrimp.

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