Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 173, Issue 5, pp 583–594 | Cite as

Some optical features of the eyes of stomatopods

II. Ommatidial design, sensitivity and habitat
  • N. J. Marshall
  • M. F. Land
Original Articles


Anatomical dimensions of individual ommatidia from various regions in the eyes of six species of stomatopod have been measured. Using these measurements, estimates of the sensitivity and acceptance angle of each ommatidium were calculated. The relationship between sensitivity distribution in various eye regions and habitat was examined. There is a good correlation between the sensitivity of eyes in the six species examined and their habitat or activity cycle. Animals living in deeper or more turbid water, or which are often active at night possess eyes with relatively high sensitivity. Ommatidia in six-row mid-bands are more sensitive than those in surrounding eye regions. This is achieved by enlarging ommatidial size or decreasing focal length. Increased light capture is necessary in these rows as they contain dense intrarhabdomal filters and tiered rhabdoms which drastically attenuate light as it passes down the rhabdom. Acute zone facets are larger, also for additional sensitivity. The way the image is sampled was studied by comparing acceptance angles to inter-ommatidial angles, measured previously. In most eye regions of most eyes these angles are matched. Where this is not the case (in the mid-band, near mid-band regions and the edge of the eye) an explanation can be found in the function of the region involved, or that of the closely adjacent regions.

Key words

Stomatopod Vision Crustacean Optics Sensitivity 

Abbreviations and definitions


Acute Zone




Rhabdomere 8


Rhabdomeres 1–7


Distal rhabdomeres 1–7 (Marshall et al. 1991)

PR 1–7

Proximal rhabdomeres 1–7


Proximal filter (Marshall et al. 1991)


Distal filter


Dorsal hemisphere


Ventral hemisphere


Corneal facet diameter, as MB facets are asymmetrical, values for width and height of each facet are given


Focal length of each ommatidium, estimated from the centre of the corneal lens to the tip of the rhabdom


Diameter of the aperture at the rhabdom tip. This is often less than the rhabdom diameter


Length of rhabdom or tier


Diameter of rhabdom or filter, maximum for each tier


Geometrical acceptance angle (a/f×57.3) of each ommatidium


Horizontal inter-ommatidial angle, between facets along a row


Vertical inter-ommatidial angle, between rows


Sen-sitivity of a rhabdom (in μm2) calculated as: S=(π/4)2(D/f)2d2(1−e−kl)


the approximate fraction of light absorbed, at receptor peak wavelength, in 1 μm of rhabdom (Cronin and Marshall 1989b)


Resolving power=1/2ΔΦaverage


Horizontal resolving power=1/2ΔΦh


Vertical resolving power=1/2ΔΦv


Near mid-band ommatidia

Superfamily Gonodactyloidea


Gonodactylus chiragra


Odontodactylus scyllarus


Hemisquilla ensigera

Superfamily Lysiosquilloidea


Lysiosquilla tredecimdentata


Coronis scolopendra

Superfamily Squilloidea


Oratosquilla solicitans


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. J. Marshall
    • 1
  • M. F. Land
    • 1
  1. 1.Sussex Centre for Neuroscience, School of Biological Sciences, University of SussexBrightonUK

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