Stomatopod Images

Neogonodactylus oerstedii larvae.
Photograph by Alexander G. Cheroske

Larval Dreams: Neogonodactylus oerstedii

An absolutely beautiful pic by Alex Cheroske of a stomatopod larvae under red light. Even at this early age, the vicious raptorial appendages are fairly well-developed and already primed for action. The picture was taken in red light because Alex was working on measuring its photopigments. Overall length of the larvae was about 2 mm.

Alex studies color signaling in stomatopods. In particular, he studies how stomatopods communicate with one another at varying depths and at varying stages of their life cycles by matching changes in body coloration with changes to their visual components.

He notes in his web site that:

Color signaling may have many functional roles in mantis shrimp behavior. This signaling system may also be adaptable in both signal receiving (retina) and producing (body spots) structures in response to different light conditions. Recently, research has shown that some species with wide depth ranges (intertidal to >25 meters) in the superfamily Gonodactyloidea can modify parts of individual color receptors (intrarhabdomal filters) in response to varying light stimuli. Mantis shrimp also can vary body coloration through successive molts. In concert, retinal and body color changes may serve to preserve color signal function in variable environments.

Read more about this fascinating subject by visiting his web page.

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Site Created February 3, 1998
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