Spectral sensitivity of mollies: comparing surface- and cave-dwelling Atlantic mollies, Poecilia mexicana

Authors

  • K. E. Körner,

    1. * Universität Hamburg, Biozentrum Grindel, Abteilung für Verhaltensbiologie, Martin-Luther-King Platz 3, 20146 Hamburg, Germany and § Department of Biomedical Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, U.S.A.
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  • I. Schlupp,

    Corresponding author
    1. * Universität Hamburg, Biozentrum Grindel, Abteilung für Verhaltensbiologie, Martin-Luther-King Platz 3, 20146 Hamburg, Germany and § Department of Biomedical Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, U.S.A.
      †Department of Zoology, University of Oklahoma, 703 Van Vleet Oval, Norman, OK 73019, U.S.A. Tel.: +1 405 3254908; fax: +1 405 3256202; email: schlupp@ou.edu
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  • M. Plath,

    1. * Universität Hamburg, Biozentrum Grindel, Abteilung für Verhaltensbiologie, Martin-Luther-King Platz 3, 20146 Hamburg, Germany and § Department of Biomedical Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, U.S.A.
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    • Present address: Unit of Evolutionary Biology and Systematic Zoology, Department of Biochemistry and Biology, University of Potsdam, Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 24–25, 14476 Potsdam, Germany.

  • E. R. Loew

    1. * Universität Hamburg, Biozentrum Grindel, Abteilung für Verhaltensbiologie, Martin-Luther-King Platz 3, 20146 Hamburg, Germany and § Department of Biomedical Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, U.S.A.
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†Department of Zoology, University of Oklahoma, 703 Van Vleet Oval, Norman, OK 73019, U.S.A. Tel.: +1 405 3254908; fax: +1 405 3256202; email: schlupp@ou.edu

Abstract

The visual pigments of cones and rods in three species of mollies, Poecilia mexicana, Poecilia latipinna and their asexual hybrid Poecilia formosa, were examined using microspectrophotometry. In P. mexicana, populations from extreme photic habitats were used: one population originated from a clear water habitat, one from a milky water habitat and another from a completely dark cave. Ultraviolet-sensitive cones were found in all species. Differences in the λmax values of the visual pigments were small between species and among the three P. mexicana populations, but dark-reared cave fishes showed appreciably higher variance. The hybrid species P. formosa showed a highly variable long wavelength cone absorbance, ranging from 528·9 to 598·5 nm, suggesting multiple opsin expression or chromophore mixing.

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