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Twisted rhabdomeres in the compound eye of a tipulid fly (Diptera)


The individual rhabdomeres of the outer retinular cells (R1–6) in the tipulid fly, Ptilogyna, twist about their long axes. Proximally, the rhabdoms become partitioned off by processes from the retinular cells, so that the basal region of each rhabdomere is enclosed in a “pocket” formed by its own cell (Fig. 2). This organisation of the rhabdom enables each rhabdomere to twist while supported within its own retinular cell, and while the cell itself maintains its orientation with respect to the entire ommatidium. Theory predicts that the rhabdomeral twisting should significantly reduce the polarisation sensitivity of R1–6, but have little effect on the efficiency with which unpolarised light is absorbed.

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Correspondence to David S. Williams.

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Williams, D.S. Twisted rhabdomeres in the compound eye of a tipulid fly (Diptera). Cell Tissue Res. 217, 625–632 (1981).

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Key words

  • Photoreceptors
  • Rhabdomeral twisting
  • Compound eye
  • Tipulid fly (Diptera)
  • Polarisation sensitivity