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Most caridean decapods have compound eyes of the reflecting superposition kind and some additionally possess an accessory eye-like organ of unknown function also referred to as the nebenauge. We examined 308 caridean genera to assess the general morphology of the eye, rostrum length, eye diameter and the presence or absence and, when present, the diameter of the nebenauge. We have attempted to relate these data to ecological and taxonomic considerations. We consider there to be 6 distinct eye types based on the margin between the eyestalk and cornea. The presence of nebenaugen appears to be generally linked to an active lifestyle, as evidenced by the fact that species that have nebenaugen tend to have larger eyes and are more likely to have a distinct rostrum. We suggest that the inconsistencies in its presence/absence under both systematic and ecological lenses may indicate that when present it has various roles relating to behavioural and physiological rhythms.
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Supplemental information 1
Figure S1: Whether or not measurements were taken from paper or physical samples has a significant effect was tested using linear regression and whether the measurement was taken from a specimen or paper as a factor. There was a significant relationship betweenlog eye diameter and carapace length (Ed = 0.79 * Cl – 1.28, r 2 = 0.623, F=241.9, d.f. = 2,290, p<.0001) but the source of the measurement was found to be significant (p<0.0001). The decision was taken therefore to use only measurements from physical specimens for analyses.
Figure S2: Relative eye diameter (eye diameter / carapace length) of decapod specimens collected between 2002 and 2010. No pattern is evident (Kruskal-Wallace = 3.582, p-value = 0.8927) that suggests we should not use animals from collections because of possible shrinkage.