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Colour perception of single and mixed monochromatic lights in the blowfly Lucilia cuprina

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Abstract

Colour perception of spectral lights and mixtures of two monochromatic lights of blue and yellow wavelengths was studied in the blowfly Lucilia cuprina by using a generalization test in which the fly had to compare these lights in memory with coloured papers (blue, green, yellow and red) represented in the test array. Flies trained to a monochromatic light in the wavelength range of 429–491 nm responded to blue; those trained to 502–511 nm to green; and those trained to 522–582 nm to yellow. The maximal generalization for blue was found at 429 nm and that for yellow at 543 nm. Flies trained to the mixtures responded neither to blue, green nor yellow, when the blue component was mixed with the yellow component in a ratio of approximately 1 ∶ 3. It seems that the fly perceives the mixtures as a neutral or an achromatic light. Colour loci of coloured papers, spectral lights and mixtures of two monochromatic lights used formed blue, yellow and neutral clusters in a colour triangle with respect to generalization responses to test colours.

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Fukushi, T. Colour perception of single and mixed monochromatic lights in the blowfly Lucilia cuprina . J Comp Physiol A 175, 15–22 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00217432

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Key words

  • Colour perception
  • Colour mixture
  • Colour neutralization
  • Fly
  • Learning