Re: NANFA-L-- central mudminnow gravel consumption

Bruce Stallsmith (
Thu, 15 Dec 2005 17:22:45 -0500

Your point's well-taken about inferring the color acuity of fish vision
merely from the fact that fishes themselves are often colored. But they
definitely perceive colors and react to them. The retina of a fish contains
rod and cone cells similar to ours to respond to light, shapes and colors.
Most temperate freshwater teleosts have three cone pigments that absorb
light maximally-in-about 455, 530, and 625 nanometers, or blue, green and
orange/red (referenced in "Fishes, An Introduction to Ichthyology," 3rd ed.,
by Moyle and Cech). So 'twould appear that they have the biochemical
apparatus (and neuronal apparatus) to perceive color in some form roughly
like ourselves.

--Bruce Stallsmith
the grey, rainy Tennessee
Huntsville, AL, US of A

>From: Jerry Baker <>
>Subject: Re: NANFA-L-- central mudminnow gravel consumption
>Date: Thu, 15 Dec 2005 13:43:08 -0800
> wrote:
>>I don't know how one could tell if fish "perceive" colors as we do, but
>>they darn sure perceive color in some fashion.
>>If not - many species of darters, reef fish, and fishing lure
>>are going to a lot of trouble for nothing!
>I'm not sure I understand why the coloration of fish implies their ability
>to see color. Humans absorb different frequencies of ultraviolet light to
>different degrees (as can be seen in UV photographs of human skin) and yet
>we cannot perceive it whatsoever. I'm sure that a bee can see that we have
>a certain "color" in UV light, but the bee would be wrong if he assumed
>that we could see that color.
>Not trying to be difficult, but just pointing out that we cannot infer the
>ability to differentiate colors on the basis of coloration.
/ This is the discussion list of the North American Native Fishes
/ Association (NANFA). Comments made on this list do not necessarily
/ reflect the beliefs or goals of NANFA. For more information about NANFA,
/ visit Please make sure all posts to nanfa-l are
/ consistent with the guidelines as per
/ To subscribe, unsubscribe, or get
/ help, visit the NANFA email list home page and archive at