Color Vision in Chinchillas

3 September 2018 – News

Chinchillas are nocturnal and had been thought of as animals with a pure rod retina – but new research has shown that this is not true. Few animals have no cones at all in their retinas and, aside from some species of deep-sea fish and nocturnal reptiles, most nocturnal animals possess some form of color vision.

A recent study aimed to investigate the presence of cones in chinchillas using electroretinography in 6 chinchillas and by analyzing the histological and immunohistochemistry findings in the retinas of 2 of the animals.

The results are consistent with the presence of two types of cones (red/green and blue) and of rods. This suggests that chinchillas are, in fact, animals with dichromatic vision. Red/green cones were found in a higher proportion than blue cones though their contribution to the chinchilla’s vision was not determined.

In Sandalon S, Boykova A, Ross M, Obolensky A, Banin E, Ofri R. Contrary to popular belief, chinchillas do not have a pure rod retina. Vet Ophthalmol. 2018