ANIMAL CURIOSITIES

The sensory superpower of animals: eight species that see infrared light

The ability to perceive infrared light is a sensory superpower reserved only to certain animal species.

Although humans cannot see this part of the light spectrum, there are animals that can do so naturally. In this photo gallery, we will explore eight animal species that possess this unique and fascinating characteristic, and how this sensory ability helps them in their survival.

From seeing vampire bats to hunting mosquitoes, we discover how these animals see the world through infrared light.

Wikimedia Commons Rights
The sensory superpower of animals: eight species that see infrared light
The ability to perceive infrared light is a sensory superpower reserved only for certain animal species. Although humans cannot see this part of the light spectrum, there are animals that can do so naturally. In this photo gallery, we will explore eight animal species that possess this unique and fascinating ability, and how this sensory ability helps them in their survival. From seeing vampire bats to hunting mosquitoes, we discover how these animals see the world through infrared light.
By Σ64 - Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=73184023
Salmon
Salmon use infrared light to navigate the brackish, dark waters of the ocean during their mating migrations. The biochemical reaction in their eyes changes to help them see the near-red infrared spectrum. The natural production of an enzyme allows the salmon to transform vitamin A1 into vitamin A2 to facilitate navigation.
By Rsutedja90 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=99498184
Viper
The viper uses "pit sensors" along its jaws to sense changes in infrared light. These sensors detect heat at the molecular level and send an electrical signal to the viper's brain. By combining this sense with traditional vision, the viper has a complete sense of situational awareness.
By Bjwebb at English Wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Fastilysock using Commo
Goldfish
The goldfish has a visual range from the infrared spectrum to the ultraviolet spectrum due to its four colored cones in its eyes. These cones allow it to see food and threats in visible light as well as reflections in water. No other fish has such a unique sensory range as the goldfish.
Freepik
Fox
Foxes and possibly other nocturnal mammals such as coyotes may be able to see infrared light, although this has not yet been scientifically demonstrated. However, it has been observed that these animals avoid hunting cameras that use IR technology to detect animals at night.
Di Original author: US Department of Agriculture; then denoised rescaled, enhanced with adaptive den
Mosquito
Mosquitoes can detect prey through their ability to sense the carbon dioxide emitted by their bodies, but also through their infrared vision. While the smell of carbon dioxide helps identify prey at a distance, infrared vision allows mosquitoes to get close enough to visually identify a target. Mosquitoes use a combination of these senses for hunting.
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Desmodus_rotundus_A_Catenazzi.jpg#/media/File:Desmodus_rotun
By User:Mas3cf - This file was derived from: Eurasian wolf.JPG, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikime
Wolf
Wolves and other related canines may be able to perceive the infrared spectrum in a unique way. Recently, it was discovered that wolves and dogs can smell heat with their noses, which makes one wonder about the relationship between the infrared spectrum and mammals. Although dogs mainly rely on other senses, it is believed that they can be trained to better perceive heat, just as wolves use this ability in the wild.
By Buchanan Bill, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - http://www.public-domain-image.com/public-domain-
American Bullfrog
The American Bullfrogs use an enzyme to convert vitamin A1 to A2, enabling them to see infrared light. Although they become primarily A1 pigments as they grow, they retain the ability to see infrared from below the eye while seeing visible light from above. Bullfrogs use this ability to search for prey above the water and potential predators below the surface.
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