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Nocturnal colour vision in geckos

Publiceringsår: 2004
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 485-487
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences
Volym: 271
Nummer: Suppl. 6
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Royal Society


Nocturnal animals are said to sacrifice colour vision in favour of increased absolute sensitivity. This is true for most vertebrates that possess a dual retina with a single type of rod for colour-blind night vision and multiple types of cone for diurnal colour vision. However, among the nocturnal vertebrates, geckos are unusual because they have no rods but three cone types. Here, we show that geckos use their cones for colour vision in dim light. Two specimens of the nocturnal helmet gecko Tarentola (formerly Geckonia) chazaliae were able to discriminate blue from grey patterns by colour alone. Experiments were performed at 0.002 cd m(-2), a light intensity similar to dim moonlight. We conclude that nocturnal geckos can use cone-based colour vision at very dim light levels when humans rely on colour-blind rod vision.


  • Zoology
  • nocturnal vision
  • colour vision
  • gecko
  • cones


  • Lund Vision Group
  • ISSN: 1471-2954

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