, Volume 88, Issue 11, pp 477-481
Date: 13 Oct 2001

Retinal regionalization and heterogeneity of butterfly eyes

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The regional characteristics of the eyes of butterflies from different families have been surveyed using epi-illumination microscopy, utilizing the eyeshine visible due to the tapetum situated proximally to the rhabdom. All butterflies studied have a high spatial acuity in the frontal region. The facet diameter varies slightly across the eye, and the interommatidial angle and the eye parameter p are especially large dorsally. Whereas the ommatidial lattice is generally highly regular, the eyeshine colours distinctly depend on the species. Sometimes the eyeshine is locally uniform, but often it is heterogeneous. It is hypothesized that the regional characteristics as well as the local heterogeneity are adaptations that optimize spectral discrimination.

Accepted in revised form: 17 August 2001
Electronic Publication