Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Tardigrades Only See in Black and White

Tardigrades were studied to see if they contain light-detecting proteins like their related arthropods. Arthropods contain light-sensing proteins called opsins which help them detect color and ultraviolet light. Opsins are G-protein coupled receptors that generate chromophores so color can be detected. James Fleming conducted research on two different types of tardigrades: Hypsibius exemplaris and Ramazzottius variornatus. The research showed that R. variornatus did not have eyes but had the opsin protein. H. exemplaris had eyes by no opsin protein was present. This suggests that this species does not have the ability to detect color. James Fleming's research team also found that opsin was present only in the eggs of H. exemplaris, which was astonishing since there is no use for sight when inside an egg. 

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