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Not just shades of grey: Life is full of colour for the ocellate river stingray (Potamotrygon motoro)
Institute of Zoology, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universitat Bonn, Poppelsdorfer Schloss, Meckenheimer Allee 169, Bonn, Germany.
Institute of Zoology, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universitat Bonn, Poppelsdorfer Schloss, Meckenheimer Allee 169, Bonn, Germany.
Institute of Zoology, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universitat Bonn, Poppelsdorfer Schloss, Meckenheimer Allee 169, Bonn, Germany.
Institute of Zoology, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universitat Bonn, Poppelsdorfer Schloss, Meckenheimer Allee 169, Bonn, Germany.
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2021 (English)In: Journal of Experimental Biology, ISSN 0022-0949, E-ISSN 1477-9145, Vol. 224, no 9, article id jeb226142Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Previous studies have shown that marine stingrays have the anatomical and physiological basis for colour vision, with cone spectral sensitivity in the blue to green range of the visible spectrum. Behavioural studies on Glaucostegus typus also showed that blue and grey can be perceived and discriminated. The present study is the first to assess visual opsin genetics in the ocellate river stingray (Potamotrygon motoro) and test whether individuals perceive colour in two alternative forced choice experiments. Retinal transcriptome profiling using RNA-Seq and quantification demonstrated the presence of lws and rh2 cone opsin genes and a highly expressed single rod (rh1) opsin gene. Spectral tuning analysis predicted these vitamin A1-based visual photopigments to exhibit spectral absorbance maxima at 461 nm (rh2), 496 nm (rh1) and 555 nm (lws); suggesting the presence of dichromacy in this species. Indeed, P. motoro demonstrates the potential to be equally sensitive to wavelengths from 380 to 600 nm of the visible spectrum. Behavioural results showed that red and green plates, as well as blue and yellow plates, were readily discriminated based on colour; however, brightness differences also played a part in the discrimination of blue and yellow. Red hues of different brightness were distinguished significantly above chance level from one another. In conclusion, the genetic and behavioural results support prior data on marine stingrays. However, this study suggests that freshwater stingrays of the family Potamotrygonidae may have a visual colour system that has ecologically adapted to a riverine habitat.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
The Company of Biologists , 2021. Vol. 224, no 9, article id jeb226142
Keywords [en]
Behaviour, Cognition, Colour discrimination, Colour vision, Elasmobranch, Opsins, Stingray
National Category
Zoology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-183704DOI: 10.1242/jeb.226142ISI: 000651507000002Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85106069842OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-183704DiVA, id: diva2:1558554
Funder
The Kempe FoundationsAvailable from: 2021-05-31 Created: 2021-05-31 Last updated: 2023-09-05Bibliographically approved

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Davies, Wayne I. L.

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