Structural specializations of the eye in the vizcacha (Lagostomus maximus maximus).


Vizcachas (Lagostomus maximus maximus, Chinchillidae) are nocturnal rodents living in burrows in many regions of Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile. We have studied the eye of the vizcacha using several light and electron microscopic procedures, with the purpose of understanding the role of vision in the behavior of this species. Our observations demonstrated an avascular, rod-rich retina, with a specialized region spanning through most of the equator of the eye. In this central band, all neural retinal layers exhibited a high cell density, whereas the photoreceptor layer was characterized by the presence of very long rods. In addition, the central region was associated with a distinct pigmentation pattern, including scarce granulation of the pigment epithelium, low pigmentation of the choroid, and the selective attachment of suprachoroidal cells to the inner scleral surface. These central modifications probably form the structural basis of a reflecting tapetum. The eye of the vizcacha received both long and short ciliary vessels, and a specialized cilio-sclero-choroidal vascular network appeared at the equatorial region. Our findings suggest that the equatorial region of the eye of the vizcacha could be a highly sensitive light detector related to foraging behaviors during crepuscular or nocturnal hours.

Cite this paper

@article{Lascano1999StructuralSO, title={Structural specializations of the eye in the vizcacha (Lagostomus maximus maximus).}, author={Carlos Lascano and M Valeria Cant{\'o} Soler and Ana Mar{\'i}a Ornstein and Angela Mar{\'i}a Suburo}, journal={The Anatomical record}, year={1999}, volume={255 1}, pages={34-43} }