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Mantis Shrimp Can See UV Colors Far Beyond Human Vision Range

In an interesting new discovery, it has been found that while the highly advanced humans receive color information via three color receptors in their eyes, the mantis shrimp (Neogonodactylus oerstedii) has 12 such receptors.

Mantis Shrimp See UV Colors Far Beyond Human Vision Range.

Mantis Shrimp/ Photo: Pinterest

Mantis Shrimp/ Photo: Pinterest

Called “sea locusts” by ancient Assyrians, “prawn killers” in Australia and now sometimes referred to as “thumb splitters” – because of the animal’s ability to inflict painful gashes if handled incautiously.  Mantis shrimp sport powerful claws that they use to attack and kill prey by spearing, stunning, or dismemberment. In captivity, some larger species are capable of breaking through aquarium glass with a single strike

This means that the complex eyes of mantis shrimp are equipped with optics that generate ultraviolet (UV) color vision.

According to research reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology , six of these color receptors differentiate five discrete wavelengths of ultraviolet light. The mantis shrimp has been found to make use of specially tuned, UV-specific optical filters in its color-detecting cone cells.

The mantis shrimp’s optical filters are found to be made of mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs), or nature’s sunscreens as they are commonly called. These MAAs are usually employed to protect an organism from DNA-damaging UV rays and is commonly found in the skin or exoskeleton of marine organisms.

Quite interestingly, the mantis shrimp has incorporated them into powerful spectral tuning filters making it possible to spot organisms that absorb UV light.

Scientists have said that more research would be needed to properly understand the mantis shrimp’s complex visual perception, there is a possibility that UV detection could be utilized to visualize otherwise difficult-to-see prey on coral reefs.

Mantis Shrimp See UV Colors Far Beyond Human Vision Range.

About Jordanna

From San Diego, California. "Good news is rare these days, and every glittering ounce of it should be cherished and hoarded and worshiped and fondled like a priceless diamond." -Hunter S. Thompson

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