Intracellular recordings are obtained from photoreceptors in the retina of winged (alate) pea aphids Acyrthosiphon pisum (Harris). The responses to monochromatic light, applied in 10-nm steps over the range 320–650 nm, reveal that all recordings are from green receptors and the spectral sensitivity function of these photoreceptors peaks at 518 nm. A comparison between the spectral sensitivity of the green receptors and extracellular electroretinogram recordings suggests that additional sensitivity to the short-wavelength light (ultraviolet and/or blue) is also likely to be present in the compound eye of pea aphids.
An analysis of the pea aphid genome, comparing its translated nucleotide sequences with the those of the opsin genes of other insect species, supports this electrophysiological finding, although it could not be established whether A. pisum, in addition to the green receptor, has both blue and ultraviolet receptors in the compound eye. The implications of these results for the visual ecology of herbivorous insects are discussed.
DÖRING, T.F., Kirchner, S.M., Skorupski, P. and Hardie, J., 2011. Spectral sensitivity of the green photoreceptor of winged pea aphids. Physiological entomology, 36(4), pp.392-396.
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