A stochastic model that links the absorption of a photon to the production of a discrete wave in the photoreceptor of the lateral eye of Limulus is proposed. By separating a discrete wave into an initial component due directly to the absorption of a photon, and a second quasi all-or-nothing component, a mathematical description of the latencies of discrete waves is deduced and some important features of their time courses are suggested. The predictions of the model are compared to observations from 60 different ommatidia.

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