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The visual fields of American horseshoe crabs: two different eye shapes in Limulus polyphemus.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Visual neuroscience
Publication Date
Volume
11
Issue
2
Pages
333–346
Identifiers
PMID: 8003457
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The optical alignment of individual cuticular cones in the dioptric array of the lateral eye of Limulus polyphemus was determined with a precision two-circle goniometer constructed and mounted to the stage of a compound microscope and using a new formaldehyde-induced fluorescence procedure. All measurements were made from the corneal surface of the excised eye mounted in seawater through an air/water interface perpendicular to the optic axis of the microscope. Our results revealed two variants of visual field and eye curvature which can actually be discriminated in casual examination of adult animals. We call animals possessing these two variants "morlocks" and "eloi." Adult male and female morlocks about 25 cm across the carapace have eyes which are relatively elongated, often darker in pigmentation, smaller, and relatively flatter in curvature. Morlocks have a monocular field of view of about 3.13 steradians or 50% of a hemisphere. The coverage averages 115 deg along the vertical axis and 168 deg along the horizontal axis of the eye, with maximum resolution in the anteroventral quadrant. Adult male and female eloi of comparable size have eyes which are relatively more round, often lighter in pigmentation, larger with more ommatidia, and relatively more bulged. Eloi have a monocular field of view of approximately 3.83 steradians or 61% of a hemisphere that covers 145 deg vertically and 185 deg horizontally. Eloi have more uniform resolution than morlocks with best resolution in the posteroventral quadrant. All horseshoe crabs examined, whether morlocks or eloi, have an identical orientation of the margin of the eye relative to the animals' coordinates.

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