Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Extreme mobility of mantis shrimp eyes

02.05.2018

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.


The extraordinary eyes of the stomatopod Odontodactylus scyllarus are capable of independent rotation in all three rotational degrees of freedom, leading to complex gaze stabilization behavior.

Credit: Michael Bok

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!

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Tracing the evolution of vision
23.08.2019 | University of Göttingen

nachricht Caffeine does not influence stingless bees
23.08.2019 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Hamburg and Kiel researchers observe spontaneous occurrence of skyrmions in atomically thin cobalt films

Since their experimental discovery, magnetic skyrmions - tiny magnetic knots - have moved into the focus of research. Scientists from Hamburg and Kiel have now been able to show that individual magnetic skyrmions with a diameter of only a few nanometres can be stabilised in magnetic metal films even without an external magnetic field. They report on their discovery in the journal Nature Communications.

The existence of magnetic skyrmions as particle-like objects was predicted 30 years ago by theoretical physicists, but could only be proven experimentally in...

Im Focus: Physicists create world's smallest engine

Theoretical physicists at Trinity College Dublin are among an international collaboration that has built the world's smallest engine - which, as a single calcium ion, is approximately ten billion times smaller than a car engine.

Work performed by Professor John Goold's QuSys group in Trinity's School of Physics describes the science behind this tiny motor.

Im Focus: Quantum computers to become portable

Together with the University of Innsbruck, the ETH Zurich and Interactive Fully Electrical Vehicles SRL, Infineon Austria is researching specific questions on the commercial use of quantum computers. With new innovations in design and manufacturing, the partners from universities and industry want to develop affordable components for quantum computers.

Ion traps have proven to be a very successful technology for the control and manipulation of quantum particles. Today, they form the heart of the first...

Im Focus: Towards an 'orrery' for quantum gauge theory

Experimental progress towards engineering quantized gauge fields coupled to ultracold matter promises a versatile platform to tackle problems ranging from condensed-matter to high-energy physics

The interaction between fields and matter is a recurring theme throughout physics. Classical cases such as the trajectories of one celestial body moving in the...

Im Focus: A miniature stretchable pump for the next generation of soft robots

Soft robots have a distinct advantage over their rigid forebears: they can adapt to complex environments, handle fragile objects and interact safely with humans. Made from silicone, rubber or other stretchable polymers, they are ideal for use in rehabilitation exoskeletons and robotic clothing. Soft bio-inspired robots could one day be deployed to explore remote or dangerous environments.

Most soft robots are actuated by rigid, noisy pumps that push fluids into the machines' moving parts. Because they are connected to these bulky pumps by tubes,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

The power of thought – the key to success: CYBATHLON BCI Series 2019

16.08.2019 | Event News

4th Hybrid Materials and Structures 2020 28 - 29 April 2020, Karlsruhe, Germany

14.08.2019 | Event News

What will the digital city of the future look like? City Science Summit on 1st and 2nd October 2019 in Hamburg

12.08.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Making small intestine endoscopy faster with a pill-sized high-tech camera

23.08.2019 | Medical Engineering

More reliable operation offshore wind farms

23.08.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tracing the evolution of vision

23.08.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>