Evolution of insect color vision: From spectral sensitivity to visual ecology

Casper J. van der Kooi*, Doekele G. Stavenga, Kentaro Arikawa, Gregor Belušič, Almut Kelber

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

179 Citations (Scopus)
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Color vision is widespread among insects but varies among species, depending on the spectral sensitivities and interplay of the participating photoreceptors. The spectral sensitivity of a photoreceptor is principally determined by the absorption spectrum of the expressed visual pigment, but it can be modified by various optical and electrophysiological factors. For example, screening and filtering pigments, rhabdom waveguide properties, retinal structure, and neural processing all influence the perceived color signal. We review the diversity in compound eye structure, visual pigments, photoreceptor physiology, and visual ecology of insects. Based on an overview of the current information about the spectral sensitivities of insect photoreceptors, covering 221 species in 13 insect orders, we discuss the evolution of color vision and highlight present knowledge gaps and promising future research directions in the field. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Entomology, Volume 66 is January 8, 2021. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-461
Number of pages27
JournalAnnual review of entomology
Early online date23-Sept-2020
Publication statusPublished - 7-Jan-2021


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