Photoreceptor spectral tuning by colorful, multilayered facet lenses in long-legged fly eyes (Dolichopodidae)

D. G. Stavenga*, A. Meglic, P. Pirih, H. Koshitaka, K. Arikawa, M. F. Wehling, G. Belusic

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)
    126 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    The facet lenses of the compound eyes of long-legged flies (Dolichopodidae) feature a striking, interlaced coloration pattern, existing of alternating rows of green-yellow and orange-red reflecting facets, due to dielectric multilayers located distally in the facet lenses (Bernard and Miller. Invest Ophthalmol 7:416-434 (1968). We investigated this phenomenon in the dolichopodid Dolichopus nitidus by applying microspectrophotometry, electron microscopy and optical modeling. The measured narrow-band reflectance spectra, peaking at similar to 540 and similar to 590 nm with bandwidth similar to 105 nm, are well explained by a refractive index oscillating sinusoidally in six periods around a mean value of about 1.44 with amplitude 0.6. The facet lens reflectance spectra are associated with a spectrally restricted, reduced transmittance, which causes modified spectral sensitivities of the underlying photoreceptors. Based on the modeling and electroretinography of the dolichopodid Condylostylus japonicus we conjecture that the green and orange facets narrow the spectral bandwidths of blue and green central photoreceptors, respectively, thus possibly improving color and/or polarization vision.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)23-33
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of comparative physiology a-Neuroethology sensory neural and behavioral physiology
    Volume203
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jan-2017

    Keywords

    • Iridescence
    • Visual pigments
    • Spectral filters
    • Spectral sensitivity
    • Photoreceptors
    • INTERFERENCE FILTERS
    • POLARIZATION VISION
    • ECTOPIC EXPRESSION
    • REFRACTIVE-INDEX
    • VISUAL PIGMENTS
    • RETINULA CELLS
    • DROSOPHILA
    • LIGHT
    • DISCRIMINATION
    • CALLIPHORA

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