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Kevin van Doorn and Jacob G. Sivak

Edited by J. van Rooijen

The spectral transmittance of the optical media of the eye plays a substantial role in tuning the spectrum of light available for capture by the retina. Certain squamate reptiles, including snakes and most geckos, shield their eyes beneath a layer of transparent, cornified skin called the ‘spectacle’. This spectacle offers an added opportunity compared with eyelidded animals for tayloring the spectrum. In particular, the hard scale that covers the surface of the spectacle provides a unique material, keratin, rarely found in vertebrate eyes, a material which may have unique spectral properties. To verify this, shed snake and gecko skins were collected and the spectral transmittance of spectacle scales was spectrophotometrically analyzed. The spectacle scale was found generally to behave as a highpass filter with a cut-off in the ultraviolet spectrum where taxonomic variation is mostly observed. The spectacle scales of colubrid and elapid snakes were found to exhibit higher cut-off wavelengths than those of pythonids, vipers, and most boids. Gecko spectacle scales in turn exhibited exceptional spectral transmittance through the visual spectrum down into the UV-B. It is suggested that this is due to the absence of beta-keratins in their spectacle scale.

A. Schuijf, J.W. Baretta and J.T. Wildschut

projectors is unlikely because the rate of spontaneous reactions was not influenced (see III) by the inclination. Only at the inclination of 10° was a negative response occasionally rewarded according to a random scheme to encourage the animal to react. The periscope was assembled of spectacle glasses in the

J. Verwey

possible de decouvrir aucun signe de vie a la surface, on peut assister, a la tombee de la nuit a un spectacle qui donne une idee de l'abondance des meduses et en consequence du jeune merlan. Aussi loin que l'oeil peut porter, la mer semble frappee 454 par une pluie abondante et silencieuse. Cet effet