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Tapeta Lucida in the Eyes of Goatsuckers (Caprimulgidae)

J. A. C. Nicol and H. J. Arnott
Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences
Vol. 187, No. 1088 (Nov. 5, 1974), pp. 349-352
Published by: Royal Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/76407
Page Count: 7
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Tapeta Lucida in the Eyes of Goatsuckers (Caprimulgidae)
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Abstract

Goatsuckers (Caprimulgiformes) have eyeshine owing to the presence of a tapetum lucidum. Eyes of nighthawks Chordeiles minor, poor-wills Phalaeoptilus nattallii, pauraques Nyctidromus albicollis, and a chuck-will's-widow Caprimulgus carolinensis were examined. Rods, single and double cones were present; the cones contained oil droplets. A white diffusely reflecting tapetum was observed in dark-adapted eyes of poor-wills; it was localized in the pigment epithelium of the dorsal and posterior fundus. Processes of the pigment epithelium contained numerous tapetal spheres, about 0.5 μ m in diameter. The pigment epithelium also contained phagosomes and melanosomes. The tapetum is a lipid type, the reflecting material is removed by lipid solvent and coloured by lipid stains.

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