Cone monochromacy and visual pigment spectral tuning in wobbegong sharks

Susan M. Theiss*, Wayne I L Davies, Shaun P. Collin, David M. Hunt, Nathan S. Hart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Much is known regarding the evolution of colour vision in nearly every vertebrate class, with the notable exception of the elasmobranchs. While multiple spectrally distinct cone types are found in some rays, sharks appear to possess only a single class of cone and, therefore, may be colour blind. In this study, the visual opsin genes of two wobbegong species, Orectolobus maculatus and Orectolobus ornatus, were isolated to verify the molecular basis of their monochromacy. In both species, only two opsin genes are present, RH1 (rod) and LWS (cone), which provide further evidence to support the concept that sharks possess only a single cone type. Examination of the coding sequences revealed substitutions that account for interspecific variation in the photopigment absorbance spectra, which may reflect the difference in visual ecology between these species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1019-1022
Number of pages4
JournalBiology Letters
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Cone monochromacy and visual pigment spectral tuning in wobbegong sharks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this