The spectral sensitivities of single Limulus median ocellus photoreceptors have been determined from records of receptor potentials obtained using intracellular microelectrodes. One class of receptors, called UV cells (ultraviolet cells), depolarizes to near-UV light and is maximally sensitive at 360 nm; a Dartnall template fits the spectral sensitivity curve. A second class of receptors, called visible cells, depolarizes to visible light; the spectral sensitivity curve is fit by a Dartnall template with λmax at 530 nm. Dark-adapted UV cells are about 2 log units more sensitive than dark-adapted visible cells. UV cells respond with a small hyperpolarization to visible light and the spectral sensitivity curve for this hyperpolarization peaks at 525–550 nm. Visible cells respond with a small hyperpolarization to UV light, and the spectral sensitivity curve for this response peaks at 350–375 nm. Rarely, a double-peaked (360 and 530 nm) spectral sensitivity curve is obtained; two photopigments are involved, as revealed by chromatic adaptation experiments. Thus there may be a small third class of receptor cells containing two photopigments.

This content is only available as a PDF.