Thursday, 13 September 2012

Strange Deep-Sea Crabs May Color-Code Their Food


What good is color vision in the dark of the deep sea? For some crabs, an ability to see blue and ultraviolet light may mean the difference between chowing down on a good meal versus a toxic one.

A new study published today (Sept. 6) in the Journal of Experimental Biology finds that some seafloor, or benthic, crabs can see in color. But the crustaceans live in darkness of the deep Caribbean where sunlight does not penetrate, making their sensitivity to blue and ultraviolet light mysterious.

The reason for the color vision, however, may be explained by the concurrent discovery of bioluminescent deep-sea plankton in this environment, which glow blue when they bump against objects along the seafloor. It's possible that the crabs see this blue glow as a sign of a hearty meal, said study researcher Tamara Frank, a biologist at Nova Southeastern University in Florida.


Continued:
 http://www.livescience.com/22974-deep-sea-crabs-vision-bioluminescence.html

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