Publish Date: 27.06.2022

Category: News from the University

Butterflies are the most colourful insects and have the most acute colour vision of any animal species studied. The Japanese swallowtail butterfly, Papilio xuthus, is able to detect 1 nm differences in light wavelength across the spectrum from ultraviolet to red. Its retina contains six classes of light-sensing cells, tuned to different wavelengths and arranged in distinctive clusters across three types of ommatidia, which are randomly distributed throughout the large compound eye. What is the neuronal basis of such extraordinary colour vision? In the broader sense, this is the central question of neuroethology, which studies the neural basis of animal behaviour.

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