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Reindeer can see UVA – May 2011


Clipps from Reindeer see a weird and wonderful world of ultraviolet light

“Humans and almost all other mammals could never do this as our lenses just don't let UV through into the eye.”
“. . .they can handle wavelengths down to around 350-320nm, . . . “
"When we used cameras that could pick up UV, we noticed that there are some very important things that absorb UV light and therefore appear black, contrasting strongly with the snow. This includes

  • urine - a sign of predators or competitors;
  • lichens - a major food source in winter; and
  • fur, making predators such as wolves very easy to see despite being camouflaged to other animals that can't see UV."

"The question remains as to why the reindeer's eyes don't seem to be damaged by UV. Perhaps it's not as bad for eyes as we first thought? Or maybe they have a unique way of protecting themselves, which we could learn from and perhaps develop new strategies to prevent or treat the damage the UV can cause to humans.”

Abstract of paper

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See also ViataminDWiki

Reindeer can see UVA – May 2011        
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