Role of Vision in Fish Behaviour

  • D. M. Guthrie


Despite the generally poor quality of underwater images, fish depend a great deal on vision as a source of sensory information. All but a few (mainly cave-dwelling species) have well-developed eyes, and in those forms that inhabit clear-water environments, the variety of colour patterns and specific movements that they display invites comparison between them and the most visually oriented species among birds and mammals. Because of the physical nature of light and its complex interactions with the environment, a variety of different properties of visible objects can be recognised, differing either in type (i.e. brightness, hue, texture, contour, etc.), or degree (such as patch size or pattern grain). Comparative properties such as colour contrast or brightness contrast can also be identified. The extent to which particular visual properties are important depends on (a) the type of visually mediated behaviour, and (b) the restrictions to visual signalling imposed by the aquatic medium.


Reef Fish Brook Trout Spherical Aberration Optic Tectum Colour Constancy 
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© Tony J. Pitcher 1986

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  • D. M. Guthrie

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