Sturgeons, sharks, and rays have multifocal crystalline lenses and similar lens suspension apparatuses

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Abstract

Crystalline lenses with multiple focal lengths in monochromatic light (multifocal lenses) are present in many vertebrate groups. These lenses compensate for chromatic aberration and create well-focused color images. Stabilization of the lens within the eye and the ability to adjust focus are further requirements for vision in high detail. We investigated the occurrence of multifocal lenses by photorefractometry and lens suspension structures by light and electron microscopy in sturgeons (Acipenseriformes, Chondrostei) as well as sharks and rays (Elasmobranchii, Chondrichthyes). Multifocal lenses were found in two more major vertebrate groups, the Chondrostei represented by Acipenseriformes and Chondrichthyes represented by Elasmobranchii. The lens suspension structures of sturgeons, sharks, and rays are more complex than described previously. The lens is suspended by many delicate suspensory fibers in association with a ventral papilla in all groups studied. The arrangements of the suspensory fibers are most similar between sturgeons and sharks. In rays, the lens is suspended by a smaller ventral papilla and the suspensory fibers are arranged more concentrically to the lens. J. Morphol., 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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