An anatomical study of the visual capabilities of the green turtle, Chelonia mydas

  • Mathger L
  • Litherland L
  • Fritsches K
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Several aspects of vision in juvenile and adult Green Turtles (Chelonia
mydas) are examined, with special reference to retinal anatomy such as
oil droplet topography, transmission electron microscopy of
photoreceptors, spectral transmission measurements of the ocular media
(cornea, lens, and vitreous humor), and measurements of focal length and
optical sensitivity. A detailed study of the distribution of the
different color classes of oil droplets shows that all oil droplets are
found in high concentrations (> 1000 mm(-2)) in the central/temporal
parts of the retina. Red oil droplets were the largest, followed by
yellow and clear. Oil droplet size varied in different parts of the
retina. On average, red oil droplets were found in fewer numbers
compared to yellow and clear oil droplets. Two types of clear oil
droplets were identified: those that fluoresced under UV illumination
and those that did not. We found that the majority (78.5%) of colorless
oil droplets fluoresced when viewed under UV light. Spectral
transmission measurements of the ocular media show that wavelengths to
approximately 325 run are transmitted. This may suggest ultraviolet (UV)
vision in Green Turtles. The optical sensitivity of the Green Turtle eye
was relatively low, suggesting an adaptation to high light intensities
commonly experienced by this species.

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  • Lidia M Mathger

  • Lenore Litherland

  • Kerstin A Fritsches

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