Duplex Vision in the Elasmobranchs: Histological, Electrophysiological and Psychophysical Evidence

  • Samuel H. Gruber
Part of the NATO Advanced Study Institutes Series book series (NSSA, volume 1)


Over the past century, biologists recognising the unique phylogenetic position of sharks have studied these animals to gain insight into the evolutionary history of vertebrates. Early in their development, sharks left the mainstream of vertebrate evolution and today retain, in many ways, primitive structural and physiological attributes (Shaeffer, 1967). Thus systematic studies of vision in sharks offer the potential of providing evolutionary information about the basic visual function in all vertebrates. Unfortunately, a fund of misinformation concerning both the structure and function of the visual system and visual behaviour in the elasmobranchs has become fixed in the biological literature. Typically, sharks have been described as nocturnal scavengers with a pure rod retina and crude visual system, probably relying on sensory modalities other than vision for survival (Bigelow & Schroeder, 1948; Verrier, 1930; Walls, 1942). Such descriptions stem no doubt from conclusions based on incomplete histological data, anecdotal behavioural evidence and pure speculation.


Conditioned Response Visual Pigment Nictitate Membrane Lemon Shark Visual Parameter 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samuel H. Gruber
    • 1
  1. 1.Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric ScienceUniversity of MiamiVirginia KeyUSA

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