Document Detail

Crepuscular and nocturnal illumination and its effects on color perception by the nocturnal hawkmoth Deilephila elpenor.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16481568     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Recent studies have shown that certain nocturnal insect and vertebrate species have true color vision under nocturnal illumination. Thus, their vision is potentially affected by changes in the spectral quality of twilight and nocturnal illumination, due to the presence or absence of the moon, artificial light pollution and other factors. We investigated this in the following manner. First we measured the spectral irradiance (from 300 to 700 nm) during the day, sunset, twilight, full moon, new moon, and in the presence of high levels of light pollution. The spectra were then converted to both human-based chromaticities and to relative quantum catches for the nocturnal hawkmoth Deilephila elpenor, which has color vision. The reflectance spectra of various flowers and leaves and the red hindwings of D. elpenor were also converted to chromaticities and relative quantum catches. Finally, the achromatic and chromatic contrasts (with and without von Kries color constancy) of the flowers and hindwings against a leaf background were determined under the various lighting environments. The twilight and nocturnal illuminants were substantially different from each other, resulting in significantly different contrasts. The addition of von Kries color constancy significantly reduced the effect of changing illuminants on chromatic contrast, suggesting that, even in this light-limited environment, the ability of color vision to provide reliable signals under changing illuminants may offset the concurrent threefold decrease in sensitivity and spatial resolution. Given this, color vision may be more common in crepuscular and nocturnal species than previously considered.
Sönke Johnsen; Almut Kelber; Eric Warrant; Alison M Sweeney; Edith A Widder; Raymond L Lee; Javier Hernández-Andrés
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Journal of experimental biology     Volume:  209     ISSN:  0022-0949     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Exp. Biol.     Publication Date:  2006 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2006-02-16     Completed Date:  2006-05-18     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0243705     Medline TA:  J Exp Biol     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  789-800     Citation Subset:  IM    
Biology Department, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Color Perception / physiology*
Moths / physiology*
Comment In:
J Exp Biol. 2006 Mar;209(Pt 5):781-8   [PMID:  16481567 ]

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