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Observations on the retina and 'optical fold' of a mesopelagic sabretooth fish, Evermanella balbo

Wagner, H-J., Partridge, J. & Douglas, R. H. ORCID: 0000-0002-6862-2768 (2019). Observations on the retina and 'optical fold' of a mesopelagic sabretooth fish, Evermanella balbo. Cell and Tissue Research, doi: 10.1007/s00441-019-03060-4


The ‘optical fold’ of Evermanella balbo covers the ventro-lateral cornea and is presumed to capture illumination that would otherwise remain undetected by the tubular eye of this mesopelagic teleost. It contains alternating bands of cellular and acellular material, running approximately perpendicular to the lateral surface of the eye. Only parts of this lamellar body lie within the eyelid-like structure. The cellular lamellae are 2–2.5 μm thick centrally and composed of fibroblast-like cells. The extracellular bands (4.5–5 μm thick) contain regular arrays of collagen fibrils, with layers of thin fibrils sandwiching a region of thicker fibrils. The thin fibrils are organised in alternating sheets where fibrils, although all parallel, change their orientation by 90° between each sheet. All thick fibrils are oriented parallel to the lateral surface of the ‘optical fold’. In the main retina, small bundles of rod inner/outer segments are separated by the processes of the retinal pigment epithelium (rpe) laterally. Centrally, the length of tightly packed rods increases, but rpe processes no longer divide them into bundles. Medially, rod length increases further, but packing is less dense. The accessory retina is significantly thinner, and less well-developed than the main retina. Ventrally, the rods show no regular arrangement and are not grouped. Dorsally, however, rods are arranged into bundles, separated by melanosome-filled rpe processes. The thickness of the retina increases as it approaches the crystalline lens. It is on this dorsal accessory retina that light traversing the ‘optical fold’ most likely falls, facilitating the detection of moving objects in the ventro-lateral field of view.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Cell and Tissue Research. The final authenticated version is available online at:
Subjects: R Medicine > RE Ophthalmology
S Agriculture > SF Animal culture
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Optometry & Visual Sciences
[img] Text - Accepted Version
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