For whales and seals the ocean is not blue: a visual pigment loss in marine mammals*

@article{Peichl2001ForWA,
  title={For whales and seals the ocean is not blue: a visual pigment loss in marine mammals*},
  author={Leo Peichl and G{\"u}nther Behrmann and Ronald H.H. Kr{\"o}ger},
  journal={European Journal of Neuroscience},
  year={2001},
  volume={13}
}
Most terrestrial mammals have colour vision based on two spectrally different visual pigments located in two types of retinal cone photoreceptors, i.e. they are cone dichromats with long‐to‐middle‐wave‐sensitive (commonly green) L‐cones and short‐wave‐sensitive (commonly blue) S‐cones. With visual pigment‐specific antibodies, we here demonstrate an absence of S‐cones in the retinae of all whales and seals studied. The sample includes seven species of toothed whales (Odontoceti) and five species… 

Colour vision in aquatic mammals—facts and open questions

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Within rodents an adaptation to subterranean life is compatible with very different spectral cone properties, which contrasts starkly with the situation in the muroid blind mole‐rat Spalax ehrenbergi, which has been reported to possess L‐opin but no S‐opsin.

Genetic evidence for the ancestral loss of short-wavelength-sensitive cone pigments in mysticete and odontocete cetaceans

All modern cetaceans lack functional SWS cone visual pigments and, by extension, the visual capacities that such pigments typically support.

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The results suggest that sea otters have retained features for low-light vision but rapid adjustments and acute underwater vision may be constrained across varying light levels by a combination of pupil shape, absolute eye size, and the presumed coupling between anterior lens curvature and pupil size during accommodation.

Adaptive features of aquatic mammals' eye

In general, the visual system of marine mammals demonstrates a high degree of development and several specific features associated with adaptation for vision in both the aquatic and aerial environments.

Retinal cone photoreceptor distribution in the American black bear (Ursus americanus)

Examining the subtype and topography of cones in American black bear retinas confirmed that American black bears are predicted to have a dichromatic vision with high acuity indicated by the presence of a dorsotemporally located area centralis.

Retinal Topography in Two Species of Baleen Whale (Cetacea: Mysticeti)

Eye morphology and the topographic distribution of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in two species of mysticete, Bryde’s whale and the humpback whale, are investigated, indicating that cetacean eyes are adapted to vision in dim light and adhere to a common “bauplan” that evolved prior to the divergence of the two cetACEan parvorders over 30 million years ago.
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