Eur. J. Entomol. 99 (1): 1-4, 2002 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2002.001

Ultraviolet vision in European owlflies (Neuroptera: Ascalaphidae): a critical review

Karl KRAL
Institut für Zoologie, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, A-8010 Graz, Austria; e-mail: karl.kral@kfunigraz.ac.at

This review critically examines the ecological costs and benefits of ultraviolet vision in European owlflies. On the one hand it permits the accurate pursuit of flying prey, but on the other, it limits hunting to sunny periods. First the physics of detecting short wave radiation are presented. Then the advantages and disadvantages of the optical specializations necessary for UV vision are discussed. Finally the question of why several visual pigments are involved in UV vision is addressed.

Keywords: Owlfly, Ascalaphus, Neuroptera, insect vision, ultraviolet sensitivity, visual acuity, visual behaviour, visual pigment

Received: April 12, 2001; Accepted: January 17, 2002; Published: March 15, 2002

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