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Visual Ecology$
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Thomas W. Cronin, Sönke Johnsen, N. Justin Marshall, and Eric J. Warrant

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691151847

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691151847.001.0001

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The Optical Building Blocks of Eyes

The Optical Building Blocks of Eyes

Chapter:
(p.66) 4 The Optical Building Blocks of Eyes
Source:
Visual Ecology
Author(s):

Thomas W. Cronin

Sönke Johnsen

N. Justin Marshall

Eric J. Warrant

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691151847.003.0004

This chapter analyzes the optical building blocks of eyes. Irrespective of their optical specializations, all eyes have one thing in common: they collect and absorb light arriving from different places in the environment, thus giving animals information about the relative distribution of light and dark in the surrounding world, including the contrasts and positions of objects. This information is used to support a variety of visual tasks, such as identifying and avoiding predators, detecting and pursuing prey or conspecifics, and orientating and navigating within the habitat. Although some animals use their eyes to perform more or less all of these tasks, others do not. All visual systems evolved within one of two main categories, being either general purpose or special purpose.

Keywords:   eyes, optical specializations, light, surrounding world, animals, visual tasks, visual systems

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