Contraction due to light in excised eel irises appears to follow a simple first order law. The action spectrum for contraction has a maximum which agrees with the eel rhodopsin absorption maximum. Inasmuch as rhodopsin is the rod pigment-opsin complex and the iris sphincter pupillae evolves from the pigment epithelium of the retina in the region of the iris, the muscle pigment might be the same as the visual pigment. In the human eye the contraction of the iris sphincter is activated only by light incident on the retina and the pupil diameter varies inversely with the square root of the light intensity. The inverse first power relation observed in the present experiments suggests a more primitive origin for the light reaction in eel irises. Relaxation is a much slower process and can be approximated as the sum of two first order processes.

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