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Data from: Daytime eyeshine contributes to pupil camouflage in a cryptobenthic marine fish

Citation

Santon, Matteo; Bitton, Pierre-Paul; Harant, Ulrike K.; Michiels, Nico K. (2019), Data from: Daytime eyeshine contributes to pupil camouflage in a cryptobenthic marine fish, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.dp4kt5t

Abstract

Ocular reflectors enhance eye sensitivity in dim light, but can produce reflected eyeshine when illuminated. Some fish can occlude their reflectors during the day. The opposite is observed in cryptic sit-and-wait predators such as scorpionfish and toadfish, where reflectors are occluded at night and exposed during the day. This results in daytime eyeshine, proposed to enhance pupil camouflage by reducing the contrast between the otherwise dark pupil and the surrounding tissue. In this study, we test this hypothesis in the scorpionfish Scorpaena porcus and show that eyeshine is the result of two mechanisms: the previously described Stratum Argenteum Reflected (SAR) eyeshine, and Pigment Epithelium Transmitted (PET) eyeshine, a newly described mechanism for this species. We confirm that the ocular reflector is exposed only when the eye is light-adapted, and present field measurements to show that eyeshine reduces pupil contrast against the iris. We then estimate the relative contribution of SAR and PET eyeshine to pupil brightness. Visual models for different light scenarios in the field show that daytime eyeshine enhances pupil camouflage from the perspective of a prey fish. We propose that the reversed occlusion mechanism of some cryptobenthic predators has evolved as a compromise between camouflage and vision.

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