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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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Vision in Dim Light

Vision in Dim Light

Chapter:
(p.262) 11 Vision in Dim Light
Source:
Visual Ecology
Author(s):

Thomas W. Cronin

Sönke Johnsen

N. Justin Marshall

Eric J. Warrant

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691151847.003.0011

This chapter discusses how darkness provides excellent advantages for a wide variety of animals, for the simple reason that vision—a primary sense for predators and foragers alike—becomes severely disabled when faced with a paucity of light. Thus, in a fiercely competitive rainforest, the cover of night provides respite from visually dependent predators and competitors, a fact that has encouraged the evolution of nocturnal activity in many different taxa. In the endlessly dim world of the deep ocean, the cover of darkness is instead permanent, and vision is relentlessly pressed at the limits of the physically possible. In some species the eyes have evolved extreme adaptations for extracting the most fleeting of visual cues. Others have given up the fight altogether, their eyes having regressed to mere vestiges.

Keywords:   darkness, vision, night, predators, foragers, light, nocturnal activity, deep ocean, visual cues

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