Ocular anatomy and retinal photoreceptors in a skink, the sleepy lizard (Tiliqua rugosa)

Shaun New, J M Hemmi, Gregory Kerr, Christopher Bull

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    25 Citations (Scopus)


    The Australian sleepy lizard (Tiliqua rugosa) is a large day-active skink which occupies stable overlapping home ranges and maintains long-term monogamous relationships. Its behavioral ecology has been extensively studied, making the sleepy lizard an ideal model for investigation of the lizard visual system and its specializations, for which relatively little is known. We examine the morphology, density, and distribution of retinal photoreceptors and describe the anatomy of the sleepy lizard eye. The sleepy lizard retina is composed solely of photoreceptors containing oil droplets, a characteristic of cones. Two groups could be distinguished; single cones and double cones, consistent with morphological descriptions of photoreceptors in other diurnal lizards. Although all photoreceptors were cone-like in morphology, a subset of photoreceptors displayed immunoreactivity to rhodopsin-the visual pigment of rods. This finding suggests that while the morphological properties of rod photoreceptors have been lost, photopigment protein composition has been conserved during evolutionary history.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1727-1735
    Number of pages9
    JournalAnatomical Record
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


    • Lizard
    • Photoreceptor
    • Retina
    • Rhodopsin
    • Vision


    Dive into the research topics of 'Ocular anatomy and retinal photoreceptors in a skink, the sleepy lizard (Tiliqua rugosa)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this