Relation of spectral types to oil droplets in cones of turtle retina

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Science  30 Aug 1985:
Vol. 229, Issue 4716, pp. 874-877
DOI: 10.1126/science.4023716


The spectral sensitivities and color of oil droplets of cone photoreceptors in the retina of the red-eared turtle (Pseudemys scripta elegans) were investigated by intracellular recording and injections of Lucifer yellow dye. Six morphological types of cones could be distinguished by the color of the oil droplets located in the outermost inner segments. Single cones containing either red or pale green oil droplets were sensitive to red light, cones with yellow oil droplets to green, and cones with clear oil droplets to blue. Contrary to previous reports, both principal and accessory members of double cones were sensitive to red, and no diffusion of dye was detected between the two apposed members. Thus, the oil droplets provide a reliable morphological basis for further investigation of the neuroanatomical networks underlying the processing of color information in the vertebrate retina.