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Why can geckos see color at night?


[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"39532","attributes":{"class":"media-image","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","alt":"gecko color"}}]]Some geckos can see colors by moonlight!
Humans and most other vertebrate animals are colorblind at night—the most sensitive light receptors in our eyes, called rods, detect only black and white. But geckos are different.
Geckos evolved from lizards that were active during the day, and they didn’t have rods for night vision. As geckos adapted to nighttime activity, evolution “tinkered” with their existing equipment and the color receptors in their eyes became more sensitive.
Most geckos have large bulging eyes–intricately patterned and flecked with metallic hues. And those active after dark have spectacularly sensitive retinas for night vision.
To protect these delicate sensors while basking in daylight, most geckos have vertical pupils that close to tiny slits and block damaging rays. Some species have pupils with overlapping edges that close completely. They see through tiny pinholes formed by the scalloped shape at the edges of the pupil.
Stop by the museum to see all of the extraordinary GECKOS until May 15!
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Geckos: Tails to Toepads was created by Peeling Productions at Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland.