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The spectral sensitivity of the lens eyes of a box jellyfish, Tripedalia cystophora (Conant)

  • Melissa M. Coates
  • Anders Garm
  • Jamie Theobald
  • Stuart H. Thompson
  • Dan-E Nilsson
Publishing year: 2006
Language: English
Pages: 3758-3765
Publication/Series: Journal of Experimental Biology
Volume: 209
Issue: 19
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: The Company of Biologists Ltd

Abstract english

Box jellyfish, or cubomedusae (class Cubozoa), are unique among the Cnidaria in possessing lens eyes similar in morphology to those of vertebrates and cephalopods. Although these eyes were described over 100 years ago, there has been no work done on their electrophysiological responses to light. We used an electroretinogram ( ERG) technique to measure spectral sensitivity of the lens eyes of the Caribbean species Tripedalia cystophora. The cubomedusae have two kinds of lens eyes, the lower and upper lens eyes. We found that both lens eye types have similar spectral sensitivities, which likely result from the presence of a single receptor type containing a single opsin. The peak sensitivity is to blue-green light. Visual pigment template fits indicate a vitamin A-1 based opsin with peak sensitivity near 500 nm for both eye types.


  • Zoology
  • vision
  • electrophysiology
  • electroretinogram (ERG)
  • photoreceptor
  • spectral sensitivity
  • opsins
  • eye
  • Cubozoa
  • Cnidaria
  • invertebrate


  • Lund Vision Group
  • ISSN: 1477-9145
Dan-E Nilsson
E-mail: dan-e [dot] nilsson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se


Functional zoology

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+46 70 623 10 64



Research group

Lund Vision Group


Doctoral students and postdocs

Phd Students, main supervisor


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