Stomatopod crustaceans have among the most complex eyes in the animal kingdom, with up to 12 different color detection channels. The capabilities of these unique eyes include photoreception of ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths (<400 nm). UV vision has been well characterized in adult stomatopods but has not been previously demonstrated in the comparatively simpler larval eye. Larval stomatopod eyes are developmentally distinct from their adult counterpart and have been described as lacking the visual pigment diversity and morphological specializations found in adult eyes. However, recent studies have provided evidence that larval stomatopod eyes are more complex than previously thought and warrant closer investigation. Using electroretinogram recordings in live animals we found physiological evidence of blue- and UV-sensitive photoreceptors in larvae of the Caribbean stomatopod species Neogonodactylus oerstedii. Transcriptomes of individual larvae were used to identify the expression of three distinct UV opsin mRNA transcripts, which may indicate the presence of multiple UV spectral channels. This is the first paper to document UV vision in any larval stomatopod, expanding our understanding of the importance of UV sensitivity in plankton. Larval stomatopod eyes are more complex and more similar to adult eyes than expected, showing previously uncharacterized molecular diversity and physiological functions.

You do not currently have access to this content.