The VISION Table

This form, devoted to the vision of fish concentrates on eye pigment on the retina of fish eyes and is based on the work of Denton and Warren (1956), Munz (1964), Munz and McFarland (1973), Ali and Wagner (1975), and Hobson et al. (1981), from which all (409) records so far, pertaining to 371 fish species, were extracted.


The above authors showed that the Sensitivity of a fish eye is maximum at a certain wavelength (in l max). This value in nm, and its 95% confidence interval (if available) are the essential entries for the table.

The sensitivity of fish eyes is maximum at a certain wave length

A yes/no field allows recording the presence of other pigments (as in Table 3 of Hobson et al. 1981).

A text field for remarks completes this small table.

Users of this table should read the above papers for details on the methods used to estimate l max.


Updating the VISION table will involve:

  • including all species covered in the above-cited papers (by identifying the valid names of several species for which the above authors used now outdated names);

  • adding new records from more recent papers, to be identified using the Zoological Record, and the Science Citation Index through its citations to any of the above references; and

  • adding information on the relative size of the eyes of each fish species, their activity cycle (diurnal or nocturnal), and depth range, all correlates of

The information in this table can be used to test hypotheses relating the physiology and the ecology of fishes, as initiated in the references below.

How to get there

You get to the VISION table by clicking on the Biology button in the SPECIES window and the Eye pigment button in the BIOLOGY window.


As of December 2000, this table was not available on the Internet.


Ali, M.A. and H.J. Wagner. 1975. Visual pigments: phylogeny and ecology, p. 481-516. In M.A. Ali (ed.) Vision in fishes. New approaches to research. Plenum Press, New York & London.

Denton, E.J. and F.J. Warren. 1956. Visual pigments of deep-sea fish. Nature 4541:1059.

Hobson, E.S., W.N. McFarland and J.R. Chess. 1981. Crepuscular and nocturnal activities of Californian nearshore fishes, with consideration of their scotopic visual pigments and the photic environment. U.S. Fish. Bull. 79:1-30.

Munz, F.W. 1964. The visual pigments of epipelagic and rocky-shore fishes. Vision Res. 4:441-454.

Munz, F.W. and W.N. McFarland. 1973. The significance of spectral position in the rhodopsins of tropical marine fishes. Vision Res. 13:1829-1874.

Daniel Pauly