Visual prey detection by near-infrared cues in a fish
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- Meuthen, D., Rick, I.P., Thünken, T. et al. Naturwissenschaften (2012) 99: 1063. doi:10.1007/s00114-012-0980-7
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Many animal species are able to perceive light wavelengths beyond those visible to humans. While numerous species are additionally sensitive to short wavelengths (UV), long wavelengths such as the near-infrared spectrum (NIR) are supposed to be unsuitable for visual perception. Here, we experimentally show that under exclusive NIR illumination, the cichlid fish Pelvicachromis taeniatus displays a clear foraging response towards NIR reflecting prey. Additional control experiments without prey indicate that the observed behavior is not a mere response to the NIR environment. These results give first evidence for NIR visual sensitivity in a functional context and thus challenge the current view about NIR perception.
KeywordsPelvicachromis taeniatusVisual perceptionForaging behaviorNear-infrared sensitivity