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Visual orientation by the crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci)

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dc.contributor Australian Institute Of Marine Science
dc.contributor Dept Biol
dc.contributor Univ Copenhagen
dc.contributor University Of Copenhagen
dc.contributor Marine Biol Sect
dc.contributor Australian Inst Marine Sci
dc.contributor.author GARM, ANDERS
dc.contributor.author PETIE, RONALD
dc.contributor.author HALL, MICHAEL R.
dc.contributor.author HYLDAHL, MIA
dc.date.accessioned 2017-01-13T00:44:57Z
dc.date.accessioned 2017-01-13T00:44:57Z
dc.date.accessioned 2017-03-21T01:04:58Z
dc.date.accessioned 2019-05-09T01:21:25Z
dc.date.available 2017-03-21T01:04:58Z
dc.date.available 2017-03-21T01:04:58Z
dc.date.available 2017-01-13T00:44:57Z
dc.date.available 2019-05-09T01:21:25Z
dc.date.issued 2016-12-01
dc.identifier.citation Petie R, Hall MR, Hyldahl M, Garm A (2016) Visual orientation by the crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci). Coral Reefs 35(4): 1139-1150 en_US
dc.identifier.issn 0722-4028
dc.identifier.uri http://epubs.aims.gov.au/11068/13159
dc.description.abstract Photoreception in echinoderms has been known for over 200 years, but their visual capabilities remain poorly understood. As has been reported for some asteroids, the crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) possess a seemingly advanced eye at the tip of each of its 7-23 arms. With such an array of eyes, the starfish can integrate a wide field of view of its surroundings. We hypothesise that, at close range, orientation and directional movements of the crown-of-thorns starfish are visually guided. In this study, the eyes and vision of A. planci were examined by means of light microscopy, electron microscopy, underwater goniometry, electroretinograms and behavioural experiments in the animals' natural habitat. We found that only animals with intact vision could orient to a nearby coral reef, whereas blinded animals, with olfaction intact, walked in random directions. The eye had peak sensitivity in the blue part (470 nm) of the visual spectrum and a narrow, horizontal visual field of approximately 100A degrees wide and 30A degrees high. With approximately 250 ommatidia in each adult compound eye and average interommatidial angles of 8A degrees, crown-of-thorns starfish have the highest spatial resolution of any starfish studied to date. In addition, they have the slowest vision of all animals examined thus far, with a flicker fusion frequency of only 0.6-0.7 Hz. This may be adaptive as fast vision is not required for the detection of stationary objects such as reefs. In short, the eyes seem optimised for detecting large, dark, stationary objects contrasted against an ocean blue background. Our results show that the visual sense of the crown-of-thorns starfish is much more elaborate than has been thus far appreciated and is essential for orientation and localisation of suitable habitats.
dc.description.sponsorship We would like to thank Daniel Pedersen from the Danish National Aquarium, The Blue Planet, for his assistance with the experiments in Australia, Prof. Dan-Eric Nilsson, Lund University, for letting us use his underwater goniometer and Lis Munk Frederiksen, University of Copenhagen, for her assistance preparing for the electron microscopy. This work was supported by the Danish Council for Independent Research | Natural Sciences (4002-00284 to RP) and by the Carlsberg Foundation (Grant #2013_01_0251 to AG).
dc.description.sponsorship This work was supported by the Danish Council for Independent Research | Natural Sciences (4002-00284 to RP) and by the Carlsberg Foundation (Grant #2013_01_0251 to AG). en_US
dc.description.uri http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00338-016-1478-0 en_US
dc.language English
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher Springer en_US
dc.relation.ispartof Null
dc.rights Attribution 3.0 Australia *
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/au/ *
dc.subject Great-barrier-reef
dc.subject Asterias-forbesi
dc.subject System
dc.subject Topography
dc.subject Echinodermata
dc.subject Sea Star
dc.subject Outbreaks
dc.subject Eyes
dc.subject Visual Ecology
dc.subject Marine & Freshwater Biology
dc.subject Asteroidea
dc.subject Spatial Vision
dc.subject Coral
dc.subject Sensory Biology
dc.subject Behavior
dc.title Visual orientation by the crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci)
dc.type journal article en_US
dc.identifier.doi 10.1007/s00338-016-1478-0
dc.identifier.wos WOS:000388591500002


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