April 4, 2006

I wish I were a tetrachromat

I mistyped something in my browser and came across tetrachromat.com. Sort of a long way around the block for a little joke, but I approve. 'What's a tetrachromat?' you ask. I first read about this phenomenon here: Looking for Madame Tetrachromat. This wikipedia entry provides some more info.

My question, 'Why do jumping spiders need to have super color vision? What advantage does it give them out there?' Perhaps knowing the subtle difference between similarly colored leaves gave them some evolutionary advantage over another type of less visually acute spider now long extinct... When I was a kid I prided myself in being able to name all the various colors in the big box of crayons. Without looking at the labels I could tell the difference between violet blue and blue violet, brick red from maroon, spring green from sea green. I remember thinking there were never enough reds but quite enough blues. How many more blues could a jumping spider perceive? I feel jealous.

posted at 03:29 AM by raul

Filed under: elsewhere


04/04/06 07:32 AM

yur strange

04/04/06 12:35 PM

I gained a new appreciation for Crayola's 'cornflower' after living in Chicago for 10 years. That had been my least favorite color in the 64 pack. As for spiders, I'd be hard pressed to name my favorite. I actually kept black widows as 'pets' as a kid in Idaho.
I'm surprised my red-green color blind biologist father never mentioned tetrachromats to me.

03/26/07 10:48 PM

I just stumbled upon the word 'tetrachromat' today and I now finally have a word to explain to others why I can see that ever-so-slightly different shade of whatever while they can not. ^^

I can also see faint UV 'colors' and color vision in almost complete darkness. My mother is the same except for UV and night vision; I think it is because she has brown eyes while mine are silver in low light or dark grey-green in high UV lighting.

So many possibilities out there for the Human race. I wonder what else people can see and do that is supposedly not possible!

05/28/10 12:19 PM

Many people who aren't tetrachromats can see more in almost total darkness from the rods in their eyes rather than the cones.

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