Fixational Eye Movements in the Earliest Stage of Metazoan EvolutionReportar como inadecuado

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All known photoreceptor cells adapt to constant light stimuli, fading the retinal image when exposed to an immobile visual scene. Counter strategies are therefore necessary to prevent blindness, and in mammals this is accomplished by fixational eye movements. Cubomedusae occupy a key position for understanding the evolution of complex visual systems and their eyes are assumedly subject to the same adaptive problems as the vertebrate eye, but lack motor control of their visual system. The morphology of the visual system of cubomedusae ensures a constant orientation of the eyes and a clear division of the visual field, but thereby also a constant retinal image when exposed to stationary visual scenes. Here we show that bell contractions used for swimming in the medusae refresh the retinal image in the upper lens eye of Tripedalia cystophora. This strongly suggests that strategies comparable to fixational eye movements have evolved at the earliest metazoan stage to compensate for the intrinsic property of the photoreceptors. Since the timing and amplitude of the rhopalial movements concur with the spatial and temporal resolution of the eye it circumvents the need for post processing in the central nervous system to remove image blur.

Autor: Jan Bielecki , Jens T. Høeg, Anders Garm



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