We analyzed the cornea, retina, and lens of five species of Soricidae (pygmy shrew, Sorex minutus; common shrew, Sorex araneus; Millet's shrew, Sorex coronatus; water shrew, Neomys fodiens; greater white-toothed shrew, Crocidura russula) by light and electron microscopy. In all of these species, the corneal epithelium showed a dead cell layer, which may increase the refractive power of the cornea, thereby reducing the hypermetropy that would be expected in a small eye. Moreover, the anterior surface of the lens was more curved than the posterior, thus minimizing spherical aberrations. The thicker lens and its smaller radii of curvature indicated that Sorex species and N. fodiens have a higher refractive lens power than the most nocturnal species, C. russula. In addition, only in the retina cone inner segments of the most diurnal species (genus Sorex) did we find megamitochondria that might act as microlenses to enhance the efficiency of cones. In C. russula, the scarcity of cones and the relatively small yet abundant rod nuclei were found to be consistent with its habits. The flat lens and its more anterior arrangement, together with the lack of megamitochondria in the retina of C. russula, indicated that this species has less visual acuity than the other shrews studied here. © 2009 Japanese Association of Anatomists.
|Journal||Anatomical Science International|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Dec 2009|
- Electron microscopy