, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 463-475

Exceptional Variation on a Common Theme: The Evolution of Crustacean Compound Eyes


The Crustacea contain an amazing, and often (to humans) bizarre, array of visual designs. This diversity includes many different examples of both simple and compound eyes, each with standard or uniquely crustacean features. In this review, we focus on the anatomical variation, optical principles, and molecular diversity of crustacean compound eyes to illustrate how the complicated structures involved in vision are adapted for particular environments. Using this knowledge as a starting point, and considering what is known of crustacean evolution overall, we present the most recent ideas of how crustacean compound eyes have evolved and show how eyes that are based on fundamentally different optical principles can in fact be derived from each other and thus be closely related through common descent.