Visual acuity, contrast sensitivity and retinal magnification in a marsupial, the tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii)

J. M. Hemmi, R. F. Mark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The visual acuity of the tammar wallaby was estimated using a behavioural discrimination task. The wallabies were trained to discriminate a high-contrast (86%) square-wave grating from a grey field of equal lummance (1000-6000 cd m-2). Visual-evoked cortical potentials were used to measure the complete contrast sensitivity function. The stimulus was a sinusoidal phase reversal of a sinusoidally modulated grating of various spatial frequencies and contrasts with a mean luminance of 40 cd m-2. The behavioural acuity was estimated to be about 4.8 cycles/deg. The contrast sensitivity peaked at about 0.15 cycles/deg and declined towards both lower and higher spatial frequencies. The cut-off frequency of the contrast sensitivity function is slightly lower than the behaviourally measured acuity at about 2.7 cycles/deg. The retinal magnification factor was estimated anatomically from laser lesions to be about 0.16 mm/deg. Based on the known ganglion cell density and the retinal magnification factor, an anatomical upper limit to visual acuity of about 6 cycles/deg can be calculated. The differences in estimates of visual acuity between the behavioural and anatomical methods on the one side and physiology on the other side are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-387
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology - A Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 1998
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Visual acuity, contrast sensitivity and retinal magnification in a marsupial, the tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this