Physics of Biology


Detecting the Detector: Significant Examples

Authors: Colin Bruce Jack

This paper adds supplementary information to my previous papers on Detecting The Detector and should be read in conjunction with them. It lists potentially widespread categories of use of a detector-detecting sense, including some which may be ecologically or scientifically important. Candidates described are: - The Histioteuthidae family, common name cockeyed squid - Chameleons - Members of the tarantula family which have convergently evolved a blue coloration of specific wavelength - Fish and other marine animals which use counterillumination generally assumed to be for concealment, yet actually emit light from a pattern of discrete spots, which is not optimum for concealment but could be optimum for retroreflector-detection - Some of the very wide range of animals which have light-detecting opsins distributed over their body surface. Especially in conjunction with the ability to vary the intensity or other properties of light reflected or emitted from the local body surface, this could enable omnidirectional detection of animals hiding in shadow: large-eyed predators at medium range, or small-eyed prey at close range. Also potentially relevant to the widespread importance of a retroreflector-detecting sense is the existence of animals with pupils which do not have circular symmetry. This may be evidence of an ‘arms race’: how you do evolve an effective eye which minimizes its own detectability by retroreflection?

Comments: 6 Pages.

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[v1] 2016-01-18 06:58:37

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