Document Detail

Arctic reindeer extend their visual range into the ultraviolet.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21613517     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
The Arctic has extreme seasonal changes in light levels and is proportionally UV-rich because of scattering of the shorter wavelengths and their reflection from snow and ice. Here we show that the cornea and lens in Arctic reindeer do not block all UV and that the retina responds electrophysiologically to these wavelengths. Both rod and cone photoreceptors respond to UV at low-intensity stimulation. Retinal RNA extraction and in vitro opsin expression show that the response to UV is not mediated by a specific UV photoreceptor mechanism. Reindeer thus extend their visual range into the short wavelengths characteristic of the winter environment and periods of extended twilight present in spring and autumn. A specific advantage of this short-wavelength vision is the use of potential information caused by differential UV reflections known to occur in both Arctic vegetation and different types of snow. UV is normally highly damaging to the retina, resulting in photoreceptor degeneration. Because such damage appears not to occur in these animals, they may have evolved retinal mechanisms protecting against extreme UV exposure present in the daylight found in the snow-covered late winter environment.
Christopher Hogg; Magella Neveu; Karl-Arne Stokkan; Lars Folkow; Phillippa Cottrill; Ronald Douglas; David M Hunt; Glen Jeffery
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Journal of experimental biology     Volume:  214     ISSN:  1477-9145     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Exp. Biol.     Publication Date:  2011 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-05-26     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0243705     Medline TA:  J Exp Biol     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  2014-9     Citation Subset:  IM    
Moorfields Eye Hospital, 162 City Road, London EC1V 2PD, UK.
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