Behavioural evidence for polychromatic ultraviolet sensitivity in mantis shrimp

Michael J Bok, Nicholas W Roberts, Thomas W Cronin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Stomatopod crustaceans are renowned for their elaborate visual systems. Their eyes contain a plethora of photoreceptors specialized for chromatic and polarization detection, including several that are sensitive to varying wavelength ranges and angles of polarization within the ultraviolet (UV) range (less than 400 nm). Behavioural experiments have previously suggested that UV photoreception plays a role in stomatopod communication, but these experiments have only manipulated the entire UV range. Here, using a behavioural approach, we examine UV vision in the stomatopod Haptosquilla trispinosa Using binary trained choice assays as well as innate burrow-choice experiments, we assessed the ability of H. trispinosa to detect and respond to narrow-band LED stimuli peaking near 314 nm (UVB) versus 379 nm (UVA) in wavelength. We find that H. trispinosa can discriminate these stimuli and appears to display an aversive reaction to UVB light, suggesting segregated behavioural responses to stimuli within the UV range. Furthermore, we find that H. trispinosa can discriminate stimuli peaking near 379 nm versus 351 nm in wavelength, suggesting that their wavelength discrimination in the UV is comparable to their performance in the human-visible range.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20181384
Number of pages7
JournalRoyal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences
Issue number1884
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Aug 1
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

© 2018 The Author(s).

Free keywords

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal/radiation effects
  • Choice Behavior/physiology
  • Decapoda/physiology
  • Ultraviolet Rays
  • Vision, Ocular/physiology

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