Российская академия наук

Specialized photonic crystal collectors in fish retina Elephantnose

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Specialized photonic crystal collectors in fish retina Elephantnose

(Gnathonemus petersii), allowed detection of moving objects in a dim, turbid water

Makarov F.N.

Pavlov Institute of Physiology RAS, St-Petersburg, Russia, felixmakarov@mail.ru

A new type of functional organization of the retina of the fish Elephantnose (Gnathonemus petersii), dwelling in the dim and turbid waters deeper layers of African tanks. Photoreceptors are located in a bowl-shaped formations with crystal environment, are light photons traps. The photon trap is the result of evolutionary change pigment epithelial cells, in which the bottom wall of the orderly arranged photoreceptors: cones at first, and underneath rods. Mirrors crystals act as light pipes repeatedly reflecting and reinforcing the red light coming through dim water and directing it to the outcome . Model experiments show that this design can lead up to cones to 5 times more light. exit the crystal bowls Remaining photons during exit out of crystal bowls fall on the highly sensitive rods photoreceptors. Thus, in contrast to mammals and human the cones of this fish work continuously and simultaneously with rods during the day to ensure the highest possible level of light sensitivity. We used morphological, electrophysiological, spectroscopic, and behavioral modeling techniques. The total design of features eye - photon trap, a special arrangement of photoreceptors that are concentrated in the wall oucome of traps, the maximum shift receptor sensitivity in the red-green region - improve the signal / noise ratio and optimize the fuction of the eye in the dim water environment. This unique morphofunctional organization of the retina provides a fish, with a total low resolution of the retina, on the whole, pattern vision and light sensitivity for adequate orientation and defensive behavior in challenging environmental conditions.

Science, 2012, v.336, pp.1700-1703. Kreysing M., Puch R….Makarov F.. Reichenbach A., Francke M. et al. (University of Cambridge, UK; Institute for Brain Research, Leipzig, Germany; Pavlov Institute of Physiology, Russia.)

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