Colors Animals See
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How do you know if an animal can see color?
This question can be answered pretty easily. If an animal eye has cones they will be able to see some color. What is difficult to know is which colors an animal can see and how strong or weak the color will appear to the animal.
Scientists can study an animal eye and find out if it contains cones and what colors of light the cones can detect. It is also possible to count the number of cones and their location in the retina to understand how strong or weak a color might appear to an animal.
But, what color does the animal see? Vision, like all of our senses, is processed in the brain. Without being able to get into the head of animal it is only possible to know what colors can be detected and not how they "look" to the animal.
This is also true for humans. Two people may say they see a painted wall as a particular color, but do they see it the same way? The answer is not known at this point.
Do humans have better color vision than animals?
It is true that we see more colors than some animals. However, some animals see colors we cannot. Spiders and many insects can see a type of light called ultraviolet that most humans cannot see. Other animals are able to see in the infrared.
The the chart below lists some common animals and the colors they can see.
|ANIMAL||THE COLORS THEY SEE|
|SPIDERS (jumping spiders)||ULTRAVIOLET AND GREEN|
|INSECTS (bees)||ULTRAVIOLET, BLUE, YELLOW|
|CRUSTACEANS (crayfish)||BLUE AND RED|
|CEPHALOPODS (octopi and squids)||BLUE ONLY|
|FISH||MOST SEE JUST TWO COLORS|
|AMPHIBIANS (frogs)||MOST SEE SOME COLOR|
|REPTILES (snakes)||SOME COLOR AND INFRARED|
|BIRDS||FIVE TO SEVEN COLORS|
|MAMMALS (cats)||TWO COLORS BUT WEAKLY|
|MAMMALS (dogs)||TWO COLORS BUT WEAKLY|
|MAMMALS (rabbit)||BLUE AND GREEN|
|MAMMALS (squirrel)||BLUES AND YELLOWS|
|MAMMALS (primates-apes and chimps)||SAME AS HUMANS|
|MAMMALS (African monkeys)||SAME AS HUMANS|
|MAMMALS (South American monkeys)||CAN'T SEE RED WELL|