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The compound eye of Leptodora kindtii (Cladocera): : An adaptation to planctonic life.

  • Dan-E Nilsson
  • Rolf Odselius
  • Rolf Elofsson
Publishing year: 1983
Language: English
Pages: 40-410
Publication/Series: Cell and Tissue Research1974-01-01+01:00
Volume: 230
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Springer

Abstract english

Each of the approximately 500 ommatidia in the compound eye of the cladoceran crustacean Leptodora kindtii has a crystalline cone consisting of five cells. Five retinula cells are also present, one of which contributes to the distal 1–2 μm of the rhabdom only; the other four retinula cells form a continuous rhabdom. Throughout the rhabdom its cross section displays two separate halves with the axis of the microvilli in one half perpendicular to that in the other (orthogonal pattern). Interferometric analysis of the refractive index of the crystalline cone revealed an inhomogeneous system with one distal and one proximal gradient. The gradient system was found to exclude rays entering from adjacent facets, thus maintaining the optical isolation. Consequently, these optics replace distal screening pigment, which is absent in the eye. The long and unscreened crystalline cones give rise to an almost transparent eye in conformity with the overall transparency of this planktonic animal.

The morphological characteristics of the eye of this species deviate from other cladoceran eyes, but the optical design closely resembles that of some pelagic marine amphipod crustaceans.


  • Zoology
  • Optics
  • Fine structure
  • Cladocera


  • Lund Vision Group
  • ISSN: 1432-0878
Dan-E Nilsson
E-mail: dan-e [dot] nilsson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se


Functional zoology

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Lund Vision Group


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Phd Students, main supervisor


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