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Photoreceptor spectral sensitivity in the bumblebee, Bombus impatiens (Hymenoptera: Apidae).

Skorupski, P; Chittka, L (2010) Photoreceptor spectral sensitivity in the bumblebee, Bombus impatiens (Hymenoptera: Apidae). PLOS ONE, 5 (8). e12049. ISSN 1932-6203
SGUL Authors: Skorupski, Peter

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The bumblebee Bombus impatiens is increasingly used as a model in comparative studies of colour vision, or in behavioural studies relying on perceptual discrimination of colour. However, full spectral sensitivity data on the photoreceptor inputs underlying colour vision are not available for B. impatiens. Since most known bee species are trichromatic, with photoreceptor spectral sensitivity peaks in the UV, blue and green regions of the spectrum, data from a related species, where spectral sensitivity measurements have been made, are often applied to B impatiens. Nevertheless, species differences in spectral tuning of equivalent photoreceptor classes may result in peaks that differ by several nm, which may have small but significant effects on colour discrimination ability. We therefore used intracellular recording to measure photoreceptor spectral sensitivity in B. impatiens. Spectral peaks were estimated at 347, 424 and 539 nm for UV, blue and green receptors, respectively, suggesting that this species is a UV-blue-green trichromat. Photoreceptor spectral sensitivity peaks are similar to previous measurements from Bombus terrestris, although there is a significant difference in the peak sensitivity of the blue receptor, which is shifted in the short wave direction by 12-13 nm in B. impatiens compared to B. terrestris.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: PMCID: PMC2919406. Copyright: © 2010 Skorupski, P. and Chittka, L. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: Animals, Bees, Color, Intracellular Space, Light, Photoreceptor Cells, Time Factors
SGUL Research Institute / Research Centre: Academic Structure > Institute of Medical & Biomedical Education (IMBE)
Academic Structure > Institute of Medical & Biomedical Education (IMBE) > Centre for Biomedical Education (INMEBE)
Journal or Publication Title: PLOS ONE
ISSN: 1932-6203
Related URLs:
10 August 2010Published
PubMed ID: 20711523
Web of Science ID: 20711523
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