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Colour preference in Odontodactylus scyllarus (Linnaeus, 1758) (Stomatopoda)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-379
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Crustacean Biology
Issue number4
Early online date9 Jun 2017
DateAccepted/In press - 5 Apr 2017
DateE-pub ahead of print - 9 Jun 2017
DatePublished (current) - Jul 2017


Stomatopods engage in a highly dynamic lifestyle that includes ritual combat, territoriality, and active predation of live prey. Adaptations to this lifestyle include powerful raptorial appendages and an extraordinarily complex visual system, which includes 12-channel colour vision and the ability to discriminate the polarization of light. The neural processing underlying their colour vision has yet to be determined, though there is some evidence that the stomatopod colour vision system is based on wavelength recognition rather than spectral discrimination. We show that Odontodactylus scyllarus has an innate preference for objects that reflect wavelengths between 575 nm and 600 nm (corresponding to the human ‘yellow’). Comparatively, they show a reduced preference for objects that reflect both at shorter wavelengths, between 525 nm and 575 nm (human ‘green’) and at longer wavelengths, between 600 nm and 650 nm (human ‘red’). Within the wavelength preference, decisions are affected by the contrast of the object, with choice directed towards the version of the object that exhibited a greater Weber contrast against the background, despite reflecting in the same wavelength interval. As for other animals, the innate preference for objects reflecting particular wavelengths may act to increase the fitness of naive animals.

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