DOI: 10.1101/483172Nov 30, 2018Paper

Elaborate pupils in skates may help camouflage the eye

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Sean YounLydia M Mäthger


The little skate Leucoraja erinacea has elaborately shaped pupils, whose characteristics and functions have not been studied extensively. It has been suggested that such pupil shapes may camouflage the eye; yet, no experimental evidence has been presented to support this claim. Skates are bottom-dwellers that often bury into the substrate with their eyes protruding. If these pupils serve any camouflage function, we expect there to be a pupillary response related to the spatial frequency ("graininess") of the background against which the eye is viewed. Here, we tested whether skate pupils dilate or constrict in response to background spatial frequency. We placed skates on background substrates with different spatial frequencies and recorded pupillary responses at three light intensities. In experiment 1, the skates' pupillary response to three artificial checkerboards of different spatial frequencies was recorded. Skates responded to changing light intensity with pupil dilation/constriction; yet, their pupils did not change in response to spatial frequency. In experiment 2, in which skates could bury into three natural substrates with different spatial frequencies, such that their eyes protruded above the substrate, the pupils s...Continue Reading

Related Concepts

Computer Systems
Miosis Disorder
Pupil Disorders
Spatial Distribution
Dilator Pupillae Muscle Structure
Raja erinacea
Research Study

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