Visual spectral sensitivity of hatchling loggerhead (Caretta caretta L.) and leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea L.) sea turtles, as determined by single-flash electroretinography


  • Electroretinographic recordings were made from hatchling loggerhead and leatherback sea turtle eyecup preparations to generate dark-adapted spectral sensitivity curves. Both species were maximally sensitive to wavelengths between 500 and 540 nm, with a secondary peak near 380 nm. The spectral sensitivity curve for leatherbacks was attenuated at the long wavelength end of the spectrum relative to that of the loggerheads. This difference may reflect adaptations to lighting available at the relatively shallow (loggerhead) versus deeper (leatherback) sites where each species forages. The broad spectrum of wavelengths detected by both species (near UV to yellow-orange) indicates that vision is likely mediated by more than one photopigment, potentially rendering these turtles capable of color vision.

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