Polarization contrasts and their effect on the gaze stabilization of crustaceans

Christian Drerup, Martin J How

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
120 Downloads (Pure)


Many animals go to great lengths to stabilise their eyes relative to the visual scene and do so to enhance the localisation of moving objects and to functionally partition the visual system relative to the outside world. An important cue that is used to control these stabilisation movements is contrast within the visual surround. Previous studies on insects, spiders and fish have shown that gaze stabilisation is achromatic (= ‘colour-blind’), meaning that chromatic contrast alone (in the absence of apparent intensity contrasts) does not contribute to gaze stabilisation. Following the assumption that polarization vision is analogous in many ways to colour vision, the present study shows that five different crustacean species do not use the polarization of light alone for gaze stabilisation, despite being able to use this modality for detecting predator-like objects. This work therefore suggests that the gaze stabilisation in many crustaceans cannot be elicited by the polarization of light alone.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberjeb229898
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the Royal Society (grant UF140558). C.D. was supported by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union. Open access funding provided by University of Bristol. Deposited in PMC for immediate release.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Company of Biologists Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • visual system
  • object detection
  • motion detection
  • contrast vision
  • optokinesis
  • optomotor reflex


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