Multitasking in an eye: the unusual organization of the Thermonectus marmoratus principal larval eyes allows for far and near vision and might aid in depth perception

  title={Multitasking in an eye: the unusual organization of the Thermonectus marmoratus principal larval eyes allows for far and near vision and might aid in depth perception},
  author={Annette Stowasser and Elke K. Buschbeck},
  journal={Journal of Experimental Biology},
  pages={2509 - 2516}
Very few visual systems diverge fundamentally from the basic plans of well-studied animal eyes. However, investigating those that do can provide novel insights into visual system function. A particularly unusual system exists in the principal larval eyes of a visually guided aquatic predator, the sunburst diving beetle, Thermonectus marmoratus (Coleoptera: Dystiscidae). These eyes are characterized by complex layered distal and proximal retinas. We previously reported that their principal eye… Expand
How aquatic water-beetle larvae with small chambered eyes overcome challenges of hunting under water
Past findings are summarized and how these eyes allow Thermonectus larvae to be such successful predators are discussed, including how this retinal organization could facilitate an unusual distance-vision mechanism. Expand
Establishment of correctly focused eyes may not require visual input in arthropods
Visual input appears not to be necessary to develop well-focused eyes in diverse arthropods, including camera-type eyes of beetle larvae and spiders, and compound eyes in flies. Expand
Rapid and step-wise eye growth in molting diving beetle larvae
However complex a visual system is, the size (and growth rate) of all its components—lens, retina and nervous system—must be precisely tuned to each other for the system to be functional. AsExpand
Stark trade-offs and elegant solutions in arthropod visual systems
This Review summarizes exciting solutions that animals have evolved in response to specific visual challenges in arthropods, and they are best understood in light of the physical limitations of vision. Expand
Embryonic development of the larval eyes of the Sunburst Diving Beetle, Thermonectus marmoratus (Insecta: Dytiscidae): a morphological study
In this study, histological methods are used to investigate the embryonic development of the functionally complex principal stemmata of the larval visual system of T. marmoratus and provide insights into the timing of morphological features and represents the basis for future molecular studies. Expand
Giving invertebrates an eye exam: an ophthalmoscope that utilizes the autofluorescence of photoreceptors
A micro-ophthalmoscope that takes advantage of autofluorescent properties of invertebrate photoreceptors and allows for in vivo testing of refractive errors in small arthropod eyes is described and tested on the relatively well-understood eyes of jumping spiders and flies. Expand
Growing tiny eyes: How juvenile jumping spiders retain high visual performance in the face of size limitations and developmental constraints
It is found that juvenile spiders have proportionally larger lenses in relation to their body size than adults, indicating that young jumping spiders have eyes already equipped for high acuity vision, but these young spiders may struggle to perform visually demanding behaviors in low-light environments. Expand
Escaping compound eye ancestry: the evolution of single-chamber eyes in holometabolous larvae
  • E. Buschbeck
  • Biology, Medicine
  • Journal of Experimental Biology
  • 2014
Taken together, stemmata represent a great model system to study an impressive set of optical solutions that evolved from a relatively simple ancestral organization. Expand
A Complex Lens for a Complex Eye.
A better understanding of lens composition provides insights into the evolution of proper focusing, which is an important step in the transition between low-resolution and high-resolution eyes. Expand
Visual sensory systems of predatory and parasitic arthropods
This review summarised the visual sensory systems of both predatory arthropods and parasitoids from recent publications and studies and suggested that vision is an important modality of predatory and parasitic insects. Expand


Twenty‐eight retinas but only twelve eyes: An anatomical analysis of the larval visual system of the diving beetle Thermonectus marmoratus (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae)
The anatomical findings suggest that the sunburst diving beetle is an example of a visual system in which specific visual tasks are distributed among the eyes, and which relies on a variety of highly specialized retinas. Expand
Retinal ultrastructure may mediate polarization sensitivity in larvae of the Sunburst diving beetle, Thermonectus marmoratus (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae)
The findings suggest that T. marmoratus larvae might be able to analyze polarized light, which could be used by freshly hatched larvae to find water or within the water to break the camouflage of common prey items such as mosquito larvae. Expand
Spectral sensitivity of the principal eyes of sunburst diving beetle, Thermonectus marmoratus (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae), larvae
SUMMARY The principal eyes of sunburst diving beetle, Thermonectus marmoratus, larvae are among the most unusual eyes in the animal kingdom. They are composed of long tubes connecting bifocal lensesExpand
The principal eyes of a jumping spider have a telephoto component
Jumping spiders are a cosmopolitan family (Salticidae) of predators that can make visual discrimination between prey and mates1,2. This task is mediated through the anterior median eyes, described byExpand
Scanning behavior by larvae of the predacious diving beetle, Thermonectus marmoratus (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae) enlarges visual field prior to prey capture
It is reported here that T. marmoratus larvae are incapable of moving their eyes or any part of their eyes within the head capsule, but they do perform a series of bodily dorso-ventral pivots prior to prey capture, behaviorally extending the vertical visual field from 2° to up to 50°. Expand
Optical and physiological properties of the larval visual system of the tiger beetle, Cicindela chinensis
The larva of the tiger beetle possesses six stemmata on either side of the head that possessed a single type of retinular cell with a maximal spectral sensitivity at 525 nm, and a flicker fusion frequency of 25–50 Hz. Expand
Electrophysiological evidence for polarization sensitivity in the camera-type eyes of the aquatic predacious insect larva Thermonectus marmoratus
Electrophysiological methods and single-cell staining are used to confirm polarization sensitivity in the proximal retinas of both principal eyes of the aquatic larvae of the predacious diving beetle Thermonectus marmoratus and suggest that polarization sensitivity probably plays an important role in the visual system of these larvae. Expand
Biological Bifocal Lenses with Image Separation
It is reported that the principal eye E2 of sunburst diving beetle (Thermonectus marmoratus) larvae has truly bifocal lenses, something that has been previously suggested only for certain trilobites. Expand
The spectral sensitivities of identified receptors and the function of retinal tiering in the principal eyes of a jumping spider
Summary1.The functional organisation of the central retina of the anterior median (AM) eyes of a jumping spider,Plexippus (Salticidae) is examined by anatomical, electrophysiological and opticalExpand
Structure of the retinae of the principal eyes of jumping spiders (Salticidae: dendryphantinae) in relation to visual optics.
  • M. Land
  • Physics, Medicine
  • The Journal of experimental biology
  • 1969
Two theories are offered to account for the retinal layering of jumping spiders: Either the spider uses different layers to examine maximally sharp images of objects at different dis tances; or each layer exploits the sharpest image of distant objects, but for light of different wavelengths. Expand