Cephalopod eye
Cephalopods, as active marine predators, possess sensory organs specialized for use in aquatic conditions. They have a camera-type eye, which consists of a lens projecting an image onto a retina
The vertebrate retina is a light-sensitive tissue lining the inner surface of the eye. The optics of the eye create an image of the visual world on the retina, which serves much the same function as the film in a camera. Light striking the retina initiates a cascade of chemical and electrical...

. Unlike the vertebrate
Vertebrates are animals that are members of the subphylum Vertebrata . Vertebrates are the largest group of chordates, with currently about 58,000 species described. Vertebrates include the jawless fishes, bony fishes, sharks and rays, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds...

 camera eye, the cephalopods' form as invaginations of the body surface (rather than outgrowths of the brain), and consequently they lack a cornea
The cornea is the transparent front part of the eye that covers the iris, pupil, and anterior chamber. Together with the lens, the cornea refracts light, with the cornea accounting for approximately two-thirds of the eye's total optical power. In humans, the refractive power of the cornea is...

. Unlike the vertebrate eye, a cephalopod eye is focused through movement, much like the lens of a camera or telescope, rather than changing shape as the lens in the human eye does. The eye
Eyes are organs that detect light and convert it into electro-chemical impulses in neurons. The simplest photoreceptors in conscious vision connect light to movement...

 is approximately spherical, as is the lens
Lens (anatomy)
The crystalline lens is a transparent, biconvex structure in the eye that, along with the cornea, helps to refract light to be focused on the retina. The lens, by changing shape, functions to change the focal distance of the eye so that it can focus on objects at various distances, thus allowing a...

, which is fully internal.
The crystalins used in the lens appear to have developed independently from vertebrate crystalins, suggesting a homoplasious origin of the lens.

Most cephalopods possess complex extraocular muscle systems that allow for very fine control over the gross positioning of the eyes. Octopuses possess an autonomic
Autonomic nervous system
The autonomic nervous system is the part of the peripheral nervous system that acts as a control system functioning largely below the level of consciousness, and controls visceral functions. The ANS affects heart rate, digestion, respiration rate, salivation, perspiration, diameter of the pupils,...

 response that maintains the orientation of their pupils such that they are always horizontal.

Polarized light

It has been documented that several types of cephalopods, most notably squid and octopuses, and potentially cuttlefish, have eyes that can distinguish the orientation of polarized light. This sensitivity is due to the orthogonal organization of neighboring photoreceptors. To illustrate, the vertebrate eye is normally insensitive to polarization differences because visual pigment in rods and cones is arrayed semi-randomly, and is thereby equally sensitive to any orientation of the e-vector axis of the light. Because of their orthogonal organization, the visual pigment molecules in cephalopod eyes have the highest light absorption when aligned properly with the light e-vector axis, allowing sensitivity to differences in polarization. The precise function of this ability has not been proven, but is hypothesized to be for prey detection, navigation, and possibly communication among the color-changing cephalopods.

See also

  • Mollusc eye
    Mollusc eye
    The molluscs have the widest variety of eye morphologies of any phylum, and a large degree of variation in their function. Cephalopods' eyes are as complex as those of vertebrates; scallops have up to 100 simple eyes; and some bivalves have compound eyes....

  • Octopus sensation
  • Squid nervous system
  • Evolution of the eye
    Evolution of the eye
    The evolution of the eye has been a subject of significant study, as a distinctive example of a homologous organ present in a wide variety of taxa. Certain components of the eye, such as the visual pigments, appear to have a common ancestry – that is, they evolved once, before the animals radiated...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.