New research, led by biologists from the University of Bristol, has uncovered fresh findings about the most mobile eyes in the animal kingdom - the eyes of the mantis shrimp.
Mantis shrimp vision is extraordinary, both in terms of their colour vision and their ability to see the polarisation of light.
Not only this, but they have extremely mobile eyes that never seem to stop moving. While most animals keep eye movements to a minimum to avoid blur, mantis shrimp apparently go out of their way to move their eyes as much as possible.
Each eye is capable of independent rotation in all three degrees of rotational freedom; pitch (up-down), yaw (side-to-side) and roll (twisting about the eye-stalk).
The Bristol-led team of researchers based at the University's Ecology of Vision Laboratory, wanted to test the limits of this incredible mobility to discover at what point mantis shrimp have to steady their gaze. Their findings are published today in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Like other animals, mantis shrimp do make stabilising side-to-side movements that help keep their vision steady as they move through the world, but the team found that even while stabilising in the horizontal direction, they can't resist rolling their eyes.
This is completely counter-intuitive; the whole point in stabilising gaze is to keep the appearance of the world around them steady, but by rolling their eyes 'up' suddenly becomes 'sideways' and the world gets very complicated.
Amazingly, this has no effect on the mantis shrimp - no matter what position they've rolled their eyes to, or how quickly they're rolling, mantis shrimp can still reliably and accurately follow the motion of a pattern that is moving sideways.
Ilse Daly from Bristol's School of Biological Sciences and lead author of the study, said: "It would be like you tipping your head on its side, then back to normal and all angles in between all while trying to follow the motion of a target.
"Just to make things even more confusing, the left and right eyes can move completely independently of one another, such that one eye could be oriented horizontally, while the other could be twisted completely through 90 degrees to be on its side."
Following this unexpected discovery, the team tested to see how mantis shrimp would respond if the world started to roll around them.
In humans, such a stimulus would induce severe vertigo, as visitors to certain theme parks may have experienced with rides which challenge people to walk through a tunnel along a solid, fixed gangway while the walls of the tunnel rotate around them - which is nearly impossible to do without falling over.
Ilse Daly added: "We expected that, in response to the world around them apparently rolling, mantis shrimp should roll their eyes to follow their surroundings. They did not.
"The mantis shrimp visual system seems entirely immune from any negative effects of rolling their eyes. Indeed, it appears as though rolling has absolutely no effect on their perception of space at all: up is still up, even when their eyes have rolled completely sideways. This is unprecedented in the animal kingdom."
The next step is to confirm the existence of such a unique motion detection system and fully explore how it provides mantis shrimps with a clear view of the world regardless of how much or how quickly they're rolling their eyes.
However, a more fundamental question is why mantis shrimp need to roll their eyes in the first place, and this is what the team will seek to answer next.
Iles Daly | EurekAlert!
Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY
NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.07.2018 | Information Technology
20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences