Absorption spectra of visual screening pigments obtained in vitro with a microspectrophotometer using frozen sections are given for the insects Musca domestica, Phormia regina, Libellula luctuosa, Apis mellifera (worker honeybee only), Drosophila melanogaster (wild type only) and the arachnids Lycosa baltimoriana and Lycosa miami. The spectral range covered is 260–700 nm for Lycosa and Drosophila and 310–700 nm for the remainder of the arthropods. A complete description of the instrumentation is given. For the flies, Phormia and Musca, light absorption by the yellow and red pigments is high from 310 to about 610 nm. This implies that for these insects there should be no wavelength shift in electroretinogram (ERG) results due to light leakage among neighboring ommatidia for this wavelength range. The same comment applies to Calliphora erythrocephala, which is known to have similar screening pigments. For some of the insects studied a close correspondence is noted between screening pigment absorption spectra and spectral sensitivity curves for individual photoreceptors, available in the literature. In some cases the screening pigment absorption spectra can be related to chemical extraction results, with the general observation that some of the in vitro absorption peaks are shifted to the red. The Lycosa, Apis, and Libellula dark red pigments absorb strongly over a wide spectral range and therefore prevent chemical identification.

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