Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 197, Issue 6, pp 703–709 | Cite as

Retinal ganglion cell topography and visual acuity of the sleepy lizard (Tiliqua rugosa)

  • Shaun T. D. NewEmail author
  • C. Michael Bull
Original Paper


The spatial distribution of retinal ganglion cells provides valuable insight into the importance species place on observing objects in specific regions of their visual field with higher spatial resolving power. We estimate the total number, distribution and peak density of ganglion cells in retinal wholemounts of the sleepy lizard, Tiliqua rugosa, a scincid lizard endemic to southern Australia. Ganglion cells were readily discernable from amacrine cells by their size and shape, prominent nuclei and the accumulation of Nissl-positive substances in their cytoplasm. A total of 1,654,200 (±59,400) presumed ganglion cells were estimated throughout the retina, distributed irregularly and forming a loose horizontal streak of high cell density peaking at 15,500 cells per mm2. With a post nodal distance of 6.25 mm, we calculate an upper limit of visual acuity of 6.8 c/deg.


Ganglion cell topography Visual acuity Retina Lizard Tiliqua rugosa 



This work was produced with the assistance of the Australian Research Council under the ARC Centres of Excellence Program. We are grateful to Michelle Lewis and Kerry Gascoigne for providing assistance with histology, and thank Jan Hemmi, Richard Peters and two anonymous reviewers for valuable comments on earlier versions of this manuscript. Experimental procedures were carried out in accordance with guidelines provided by Flinders University of South Australia Animal Welfare Committee in compliance with the Australian Code of Practice for the use of animals for scientific purposes.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.ARC Centre of Excellence in Vision Science, Evolution, Ecology and Genetics, Research School of BiologyThe Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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