Do scarab beetles get to join an exclusive visual sensory club?

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.

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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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