Thursday, May 15, 2008

Stomatopods and their specialized vision


I know this isn't directly linked to the stuff we've been looking at in class but it has both ecological and physiological relevance. Stomatopods are of group of shrimp-like crustaceans, which you are familiar with if you know what a Mantis shrimp is. Mantis shrimps are known by many as 'thumb splitters' because they can produce that much force when striking prey and the reaction time for it is quite possibly the fastest in the animal kingdom. However what I find even more fascinating is the complexity of their vision. Unlike us, stomatopods in general are able to see 12 'primary colors' and pick up on circular polarization. Circular polarization refers to the slight directional shifts that can be noted (well we actually need fancy technology, or have to be clever enough to design a mechanism that shows quantum noise with a pointer's laser) as light spirals. It is believed that such sensitivity aids the crustacean in finding food, fleeing, combat and finding mates. You thought our optical system was advance.

Of course this makes one wonder what kind of environment would drive this kind of evolution. Why is it that they're so complex in comparison to other crustaceans?

The links at the bottom are to the actual websites where you can see the articles. The Science daily ones are very user friendly, the other two are VERY physics intensive.

1 comment:

Marites Villarosa Garcia said...

It didn't want to link the pages. For the user friendly ones go to sciencedaily.com and look for mantis shrimp. Or copy paste

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080320120732.htm

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080513210456.htm

Physics intensive:
http://www.plosone.org/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0002190

http://www.current-biology.com/content/article/abstract?uid=PIIS0960982208002522