Ontogenetic changes in the retinal photoreceptor mosaic in a fish, the black bream,Acanthopagrus butcheri Academic Article uri icon


  • The morphological development of the photoreceptor mosaic was followed by light and electron microscopy in a specific region of dorsal retina of the black bream, Acanthopagrus butcheri (Sparidae, Teleostei), from hatching to eight weeks of age. The retina was differentiated when the larvae reached a total length of 3 mm (3-5 days posthatch). Single cones, arranged in tightly packed rows, were the only morphologically distinct type of photoreceptor present until the larvae were 6 mm (day 15) in standard length (SL). At this time, the rod nuclei had become differentiated and the ellipsoids of selected cones began to form subsurface cisternae along neighbouring cone membranes. In this way, double, triple, quadruple, and occasionally photoreceptor chains of up to 10 cones were formed. At 8 mm SL, there was little apparent order in the photoreceptor mosaic. However, concomitant with subsequent growth, quadruple and other multiple cone receptors disappeared, with the exception of the triple cones, which gradually reduced in both number and retinal coverage to be restricted to central retina by 15 mm SL (days 40-55). Following this stage, the arrangement of double and single cones peripheral to the region of triple cones in dorsal retina was transformed into the adult pattern of a regular mosaic of four double cones surrounding a single cone. These results demonstrate that an established photoreceptor mosaic of rows of single cones can be reorganised to form a regular square mosaic composed of single and double cones.

publication date

  • September 20, 1999