Electrical responses (ERG) to light flashes of various wavelengths and energies were obtained from the dorsal median ocellus and lateral compound eye of Limulus under dark and chromatic light adaptation. Spectral mechanisms were studied by analyzing (a) response waveforms, e.g. response area, rise, and fall times as functions of amplitude, (b) slopes of amplitude-energy functions, and (c) spectral sensitivity functions obtained by the criterion amplitude method. The data for a single spectral mechanism in the lateral eye are (a) response waveforms independent of wavelength, (b) same slope for response-energy functions at all wavelengths, (c) a spectral sensitivity function with a single maximum near 520 mµ, and (d) spectral sensitivity invariance in chromatic adaptation experiments. The data for two spectral mechanisms in the median ocellus are (a) two waveform characteristics depending on wavelength, (b) slopes of response-energy functions steeper for short than for long wavelengths, (c) two spectral sensitivity peaks (360 and 530–535 mµ) when dark-adapted, and (d) selective depression of either spectral sensitivity peak by appropriate chromatic adaptation. The ocellus is 200–320 times more sensitive to UV than to visible light. Both UV and green spectral sensitivity curves agree with Dartnall's nomogram. The hypothesis is favored that the ocellus contains two visual pigments each in a different type of receptor, rather than (a) various absorption bands of a single visual pigment, (b) single visual pigment and a chromatic mask, or (c) fluorescence. With long duration light stimuli a steady-state level followed the transient peak in the ERG from both types of eyes.

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