Red-Absorbing Visual Pigment of Butterflies

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Science  16 Mar 1979:
Vol. 203, Issue 4385, pp. 1125-1127
DOI: 10.1126/science.203.4385.1125


Noninvasive photochemical and physiological experiments with intact butterflies of 17 species showed that nine species have a rhodopsin absorbing maximally at 610 nanometers, contained in retinular cells that are maximally sensitive at 610 nanometers. This is the longest-wavelength visual pigment known for an invertebrate. Eight species of butterflies lack the 610-nanometers rhodopsin. All species possess a rhodopsin absorbing maximally in the green region of the spectrum.

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