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How do some animals see in infrared and UV light?
Transcript of How do some animals see in infrared and UV light?
How do animals see infrared light?
Bats have 3 heat-sensitive pits with thermal insulation due to tissue near the area. These are located on their nose. Bats are blind but can still sense infrared energy through heat.
Insects generally have an antenna that has a organ on it resembling a cave. Some type of gas or scent molecule then disperses in the air and lands on the antenna, allowing these insects to detect the frequency and direction.
Snakes have a pit organ that has nerve fibers and an antenna that detects a change in temperature since snakes do not see light but feel heat instead.
What animals see infrared and UV light?
Some Birds (Budgies, Finches, etc)
Help find food
Prevents reindeer from getting snow blindness
Allows bees to see the most nectar-rich part of a flower
Helps butterflies and peacocks find a healthy mate
Some animals use infrared signals to fool predators
How is this useful?
Humans do not have ultraviolet cone receptors that allow them see UV light
Can see longer wavelengths than monochromats (only have one colour receptor cone such as nocturnal animals) and dichromats (have two colour receptor cones such as scorpions).
Some trichromats (primates, honeybees) can see UV light despite having the same amount of cone receptors as humans.
Tetrachromats (such as some fish) and pentachromats (such as some butterflies) can see a wider variety of colours because they have four or five colour receptors.
Photosensitive cells within our eyes do not respond to these wavelengths.
Human eyes can only see wavelengths as short as 390 nanometers
Infrared Light: electromagnetic radiation with a lower energy than visible light but higher than microwaves
Ultraviolet Light: electromagnetic radiation with a lower energy than x-rays but higher than visible light
What is infrared and UV light?
Some animals can see shorter wavelengths than humans (as short as 300 nanometers).
Animals have ultraviolet cone receptors within their eyes that allow shorter wavelengths to pass through and not burn the retinas.
How do animals see UV light?
On left: how humans see peacock feathers
On right: how peacocks view them with UV light receptors
Some animals see infrared light due to antennae or cave like organs that are sensitive to heat and can pick up on the frequency of the wavelength.
Some animals see UV light because their eyes have ultraviolet light cone receptors allowing them to see wavelengths with shorter frequencies.
Humans do not have any of these capabilities and can only see longer wavelengths that are 390 nanometers or higher
Humans only have three colour cone receptors, allowing them to see fewer colours than many other animals
Fang, J. (2010, March 14). Snake Infrared Detection Unravelled. Nature.com. Retrieved December 1, 2013, from http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100314/full/news.2010.122.html
Map of Life Convergent Evolution Online. (n.d.). "Infrared detection in animals" : Map of Life. Retrieved December 2, 2013, from http://www.mapoflife.org/topics/topic_311_Infrared- detection-in-animals/
Page, L. (2011, May 26). Reindeer can see in ultraviolet, say boffins. The Register. R Retrieved December 2, 2013, from http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/05/26/ultraviolet_reindeer/
Pisto, K. (2012, January 12). Woodland Park Zoo Blog: Ultra awesome: Ultraviolet eyesight in animals. Woodland Park Zoo Blog: Ultra awesome: Ultraviolet eyesight in animals. Retrieved December 2, 2013, from http://woodlandparkzblog.blogspot.ca/2012/01/ultra- awesome-ultraviolet-eyesight-in.html?m=1
Teng, O. (n.d.). Insects and Infrared. Lyndon LaRouche PAC. Retrieved December 2, 2013, from http://larouchepac.com/node/17203