Photosensitivity to different light intensities in blind and sighted rodents

A. E. Zubidat, R. J. Nelson, A. Haim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Photoperiod is an important cue regulating biological rhythms in mammals, including 'blind' subterranean and sighted fossorial rodent species. These species may respond differentially to changes in light quality according to their retinal complexity. The effects of increasing light intensity on daily rhythms of urine excretion and urinary output of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin levels were compared in 'blind' mole rats Spalax ehrenbergl and sighted social voles, Microtus socialis. Our results show that the threshold irradiance required to entrain rhythms of voles is three magnitudes greater than that for mole rats. The results suggest that mole rats have an operational photoreceptive pathway with a lower threshold irradiance than voles. Such a low threshold reflects the remarkable capability of this 'blind' species to utilize light signals even under challenging light conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3857-3864
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number23
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2009


  • Cosinor analysis
  • Daily variation
  • Melanopsin
  • Photophase Irradiance
  • Retinal photoreceptors
  • Ultradian rhythm
  • Urinary melatonin.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


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