Microspectrophotometry of the photoreceptors of palaeognathous birds — the emu and the tinamou

  title={Microspectrophotometry of the photoreceptors of palaeognathous birds — the emu and the tinamou},
  author={Arnold J. Sillman and David A. Bolnick and Laurence W. Haynes and Alfred E. Walter and Ellis R. Loew},
  journal={Journal of comparative physiology},
SummaryWith the aid of a microspectrophotometer the visual pigments and oil globules in the retina of the emu (Dromiceius novae-hollandiae), the brushland tinamou (Nothoprocta c. cinerascens) and the Chilean tinamou (Nothoprocta perdicaria sanborni) were characterized. All three of these palaeognathous birds contain in their rods a typical rhodopsin with λmax near 500 nm. Each of these birds has cones containing iodopsin-like visual pigments with λmax in the 560–570 nm spectral region. No… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

Visual pigments in a palaeognath bird, the emu Dromaius novaehollandiae: implications for spectral sensitivity and the origin of ultraviolet vision
Results show that the emu resembles most other bird species in possessing four spectrally distinct single cones, as well as double cones and rods, and suggests that UVS is the most likely ancestral state for birds.
Tetrachromatic colour vision in the duck (Anas platyrhynchos L.):microspectrophotometry of visual pigments and oil droplets
The optical density of the anterior half of the eye, established by spectrophotometry, was used, in conjunction with the visual pigment and oil droplet combinations found within intact cones, to estimate the relative spectral sensitivities of the major cone types within the retina.
Modification of spectral sensitivities by screening pigments in the compound eyes of twilight-active fireflies (Coleoptera: Lampyridae)
In the twilight-restricted species, pink-to-red screening pigments modify dramatically the long green wavelength part of S(λ) functions, which attenuates absolute sensitivity from 5–25% among different twilight-active species as compared to a night-activePhoturisicrescens.
Colour vision in the passeriform bird, Leiothrix lutea: correlation of visual pigment absorbance and oil droplet transmission with spectral sensitivity
Comparison of these results with the behavioural spectral sensitivity function of Leiothrix lutea suggests that the increment threshold photopic spectral sensitivity of this avian species is mediated by the 4 single cone classes modified by neural opponent mechanisms.
Visual pigments and oil droplets in the penguin,Spheniscus humboldti
The spectral properties of the cone types indicate that the photopic vision of Spheniscus humboldti is adapted to the spectral qualities of its aquatic environment.
Interspecific variation in the visual pigments of deep-sea fishes
Evidence is presented, in the form ofλmax spectral clustering, that indicates the degree of molecular constraint imposed on the evolution of visual pigments in the deep-sea and some 2-pigment species which have unusual red sensitivity, also have red-emitting photophores.
Avian Visual Pigments: Characteristics, Spectral Tuning, and Evolution
In birds, UVS visual pigments have re‐evolved from an ancestral avian VS pigment by using a novel molecular mechanism not seen in other vertebrate classes, which has occurred independently in four of the 14 avian orders examined to date.
Visual pigments in the individual rods of deep-sea fishes
The visual pigments in the rods of 15 species of deep-sea fish were examined by microspectrophotometry and the λmax of these pigments suggest they give the fish maximum sensitivity to the ambient light in the deep, blue ocean waters where they live.
Independent pseudogenization of CYP2J19 in penguins, owls and kiwis implicates gene in red carotenoid synthesis
Evidence is provided that CYP2J19 is the carotenoid ketolase common to Aves using the genomes of 65 birds and the retinal transcriptomes of 15 avian taxa, which indicates an adaptation to maximize retinal sensitivity, given that oil droplets reduce the amount of light available to the retina.
Independent pseudogenization of CYP2J19 in penguins, owls and kiwis implicates gene in red carotenoid synthesis.
  • C. Emerling
  • Biology
    Molecular phylogenetics and evolution
  • 2018


The ecology of cone pigments in teleost fishes
The relatively rapid synthesis of iodopsin compared with rhodopsin parallels the relatively rapid dark adaptation of cones compared with rods, and a theoretical relation is derived which links the logarithm of the visual sensitivity with the concentration of visual pigment in the rods and cones.
The Avian Eye and its Adaptations
This chapter is concerned with several of these adaptations, the most obvious of which are the oil droplet inclusions and glycogen deposits within their photoreceptors, the well-developed areae and foveae within their retina and the highly vascularized pecten within their vitreous body.
Microspectrophotometry of Photoreceptors
In nearly thirty intervening years we have not overcome the exasperation so poetically expressed by Gordon Walls, for in achieving the conditions of illumination under which our own cones “see”
Vitamin A1/A2-based visual pigment mixtures in cones of the rudd
Evolution of flightless land birds on southern continents: Transferrin comparison shows monophyletic origin of ratites
Quantitative immunological comparison of transferrin from ratites, tinamous, and other flying birds indicates that all the ratites and tinamous are allied phylogenetically and that they are of monophyletic origin relative to other birds.