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Adaptation of a deep-sea cephalopod to the photic environment: evidence for three visual pigments
Matsui, S.; Seidou, M.; Horiuchi, S.; Uchiyama, I.; Kito, Y. (1988). Adaptation of a deep-sea cephalopod to the photic environment: evidence for three visual pigments. J. Gen. Physiol. 92(1): 55-66
In: Journal of general physiology. Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research: New York, N.Y.. ISSN 0022-1295, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Biochemical analysis; Photoreceptors; Pigments; Watasenia scintillans (Berry, 1911) [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Matsui, S.
  • Seidou, M.
  • Horiuchi, S.
  • Uchiyama, I.
  • Kito, Y.

    Watasenia scintillans, a bioluminescent deep-sea squid, has a specially developed eye with a large open pupil and three visual pigments. Photoreceptor cells (outer segment: 476 micron; inner segment: 99 micron) were long in the small area of the ventral retina receiving downwelling light, whereas they were short (outer segment: 207 micron; inner segment: 44 micron) in the other regions of the retina. The short photoreceptor cells contained the visual pigment with retinal (lambda max approximately 484 nm), probably for the purpose of adapting to their environmental light. The outer segment of the long photoreceptor cells consisted of two strata, a pinkish proximal area and a yellow distal area. The visual pigment with 3-dehydroretinal (lambda max approximately 500 nm) was located in the pinkish proximal area, giving high sensitivity at longer wavelengths. A newly found pigment (lambda max approximately 471 nm) was in the yellow distal area. The small area of the ventral retina containing two visual pigments is thought to have a high and broad spectral sensitivity, which is useful for distinguishing the bioluminescence of squids of the same species in their environmental downwelling light. These findings were obtained by partial bleaching of the extracted pigment from various areas of the retina and by high-performance liquid chromatographic analysis of the chromophore, complemented by microscopic observations.

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