Conference Paper

Eye development in the cave fish Garra barreimiae

Aden, E.

Record Number:
4735
Year:
2010
Editor:
Moskric, A. and Trontelj, P.
Abstract:
Eye degeneration is a general evolutionary tendency shown in many animal groups that are adapted to dark environments. Inside the Hoti Cave located in the Jabal Akhdar mountains in Oman lies a subterranean lake, which is home to the blind fish Garra barreimiae. Outside the cave, Garra barreimiae is a common species of eyed epigean surface fish. The eyes of the blind cave fish and of its epigean ancestor have been studied comparatively. The eye structure of the surface fish is a typical teleost eye. Parts of the eye of the cave fish show hypertrophy. Individuals compensate the lack of a lens in various ways with extreme growth of different parts of the eye. For instance, the anterior eye chamber is often filled out with a derivative of the annular ligament, and as a result the pupil no longer transmits light. The eye rudiment of the Garra barreimiae is not sunken in the orbit as is the case with other cave fish species. From these examples we can conclude that the adult cave fish population is very heterogeneous with regard to the size and structure of the eye rudiment. To understand how this diversity evolves, the ontogenetic eye development was investigated. During early ontogeny the differentiation of the eye of hypogean Garra barreimiae is similar to the epigean one. All major structures are present. However, the lens remains in the embryonic stage, and no lens differentiation occurs. It disappears altogether at the age of three months. Initially there is a complete laminated retina with typical opsin expression in the photoreceptor cells. But opsin expression remains at a low level and ceases at the age of four months. On the other hand, other retinal strata like the amacrine cell layer are well differentiated in juvenile cave Garra and remain functional for longer than the photoreceptor cells. In adult animals, on the other hand, no evidence of functional retina cells could be detected.
Times Cited:
1
Conference Name:
20th International Conference on Subterranean Biology
Conference Year:
29 August-3 September 2010
Conference Location:
29 August-3 September 2010
Conference Location:
29 August-3 September 2010
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