Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 66, Issue 2, pp 130–137 | Cite as

Molecular Evolution of Arthropod Color Vision Deduced from Multiple Opsin Genes of Jumping Spiders

  • Mitsumasa KoyanagiEmail author
  • Takashi Nagata
  • Kazutaka Katoh
  • Shigeki Yamashita
  • Fumio Tokunaga


Among terrestrial animals, only vertebrates and arthropods possess wavelength-discrimination ability, so-called “color vision”. For color vision to exist, multiple opsins which encode visual pigments sensitive to different wavelengths of light are required. While the molecular evolution of opsins in vertebrates has been well investigated, that in arthropods remains to be elucidated. This is mainly due to poor information about the opsin genes of non-insect arthropods. To obtain an overview of the evolution of color vision in Arthropoda, we isolated three kinds of opsins, Rh1, Rh2, and Rh3, from two jumping spider species, Hasarius adansoni and Plexippus paykulli. These spiders belong to Chelicerata, one of the most distant groups from Hexapoda (insects), and have color vision as do insects. Phylogenetic analyses of jumping spider opsins revealed a birth and death process of color vision evolution in the arthropod lineage. Phylogenetic positions of jumping spider opsins revealed that at least three opsins had already existed before the Chelicerata-Pancrustacea split. In addition, sequence comparison between jumping spider Rh3 and the shorter wavelength-sensitive opsins of insects predicted that an opsin of the ancestral arthropod had the lysine residue responsible for UV sensitivity. These results strongly suggest that the ancestral arthropod had at least trichromatic vision with a UV pigment and two visible pigments. Thereafter, in each pancrustacean and chelicerate lineage, the opsin repertoire was reconstructed by gene losses, gene duplications, and function-altering amino acid substitutions, leading to evolution of color vision.


Jumping spider Arthropod color vision Insect opsin UV opsin 



This work was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (17770060) and by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Priority Areas “Comparative Genomics” from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (to M.K.).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mitsumasa Koyanagi
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Takashi Nagata
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kazutaka Katoh
    • 3
  • Shigeki Yamashita
    • 4
  • Fumio Tokunaga
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Earth and Space Science, Graduate School of ScienceOsaka UniversityToyonakaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Biology and Geosciences, Graduate School of ScienceOsaka City UniversityOsakaJapan
  3. 3.Digital Medicine InitiativeKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan
  4. 4.Department of Visual Communication Design, Faculty of DesignKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan
  5. 5.Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology (CREST)Japan Science and Technology AgencyToyonakaJapan

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