Why do mantis shrimps and birds (including predatory birds) have the ability to see so many colors? What purpose does it serve?


Based on info I got by searching this sub, color vision exists to help forage for ripe fruit, while less cones/more rods help hunt/track movement etc – so it seems counter-intuitive for these predators to have such vast color vision.

Thank you

In: 1

They don’t necessarily see *more* colors, but the additional cone cells in a mantis shrimp help them *differentiate* colors better. When your prey is well camouflaged this can be important. It’s hard for our human eyes to tell grasshopper green from grass green, but some of their primary predators are much better at this.

Some birds also use seem to cones that extend into the near UV that we can’t see to track insects. Insect exoskeletons are more reflective in the UV spectrum.

If many of the animals that eat you are all bioengineered to blend into their surroundings….the ancestors who survived and bred are the ones who noticed the threat. So where the birds ability to see a bunch of fruit may be an obvious plus for them, the ability to see the slight amount of blue, or red or whatever that is off between the bark and the snake is far more likely an influence on the animals survival.

Stop thinking of it as “purpose”, and start thinking of it as “advantage”. What advantage does this particular trait confer? Because these animals didn’t have a meeting and decide they needed this trait. Instead, a mutation happened that conferred this trait which gave the individuals that possessed it an advantage over those that didn’t. Over time, it became widespread because of the advantage it gave.

How do people know how/what an animal can see in the 1st place? Like do an autopsy on the eyeball?