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The Parietal Eye of Lizards (Pogona vitticeps) Needs Light at a Wavelength Lower than 580 nm to Activate Light-Dependent Magnetoreception

1
Institute for Advancement of Clinical and Translational Science (iACT), Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, 54 Kawahara-cho, Shogoin, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8507, Japan
2
Translational Research Center for Medical Innovation, 1-5-4 Minatojima-minamimachi, Chuo-ku, Kobe 650-0047, Japan
Animals 2020, 10(3), 489; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10030489
Received: 14 February 2020 / Revised: 20 February 2020 / Accepted: 6 March 2020 / Published: 15 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Wildlife)
In this study, the author sought to identify the wavelength of light that activates light-dependent magnetoreception. Pogona vitticeps lizards were randomly divided into two groups. In both groups, small round light-absorbing filters were fixed to the back of each lizard’s head, to block light of wavelengths lower than 580 nm. The electromagnetic field group received 12 h of systemic exposure per day to an electromagnetic field at an extremely low frequency (light period), whereas the control group did not. For each animal, the average number of tail lifts per day was determined. No significant difference between the two groups, neither for the average ratio of the number of tail lifts on test days to the baseline value nor the average increase in the number of tail lifts on test days minus the baseline value (p = 0.41 and p = 0.67, respectively). The results of this experiment suggest that light-dependent magnetoreception in P. vitticeps only occurs when the light hitting the parietal eye is of a wavelength lower than 580 nm.
In a previous study, the agamid lizard Pogona vitticeps was discovered to respond to an electromagnetic field (EMF) of extremely low frequency (6 and 8 Hz; peak magnetic and electric fields of 2.6 µT and 10 V/m, respectively). Furthermore, when the third eye of a lizard was covered, using a small round aluminum cap, the reaction to the EMF disappeared. These results suggested that the parietal eye has a role in light-dependent magnetoreception. However, the wavelength of light needed to activate light-dependent magnetoreception has not been identified and was thus explored in the present study. Lizards were randomly divided into control and EMF groups. In both groups, a small round light-absorbing filter was positioned on the back of the head of each lizard and blocked light of wavelengths lower than 580 nm. The EMF group was subjected to EMF exposure for half of the day, whereas the control group was not. No significant intergroup differences were discovered in the average ratio of the number of tail lifts on test days to the baseline value or average increase in the number of test-day tail lifts minus the baseline value (p = 0.41 and p = 0.67, respectively). Lizards with light-absorption filters that cut out light with wavelengths lower than 380 nm were found to respond to the EMF. Therefore, the lizards appeared to respond to light of certain wavelengths rather than the filters themselves. The results of these experiments suggest that light of wavelengths lower than 580 nm is required to activate light-dependent magnetoreception in the parietal eye of P. vitticeps. View Full-Text
Keywords: tail lifting; tail behavior; magnetoreception; magnetic sense; lizard; ELF-EMF; extremely low-frequency electromagnetic field tail lifting; tail behavior; magnetoreception; magnetic sense; lizard; ELF-EMF; extremely low-frequency electromagnetic field
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Nishimura, T. The Parietal Eye of Lizards (Pogona vitticeps) Needs Light at a Wavelength Lower than 580 nm to Activate Light-Dependent Magnetoreception. Animals 2020, 10, 489.

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