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This page lists the spatial acuity values measured for a large range of species (currently over 60 species). If you are aware of any other species to be added please get in touch via the forum. The “cycles-per-degree” values listed can be used in the AcuityView tool, or the Gaussian Acuity Control tool. If the acuity of your receiver species isn’t listed, these lists should help you determine a likely “upper estimate” and “lower estimate” based on taxonomic relatedness, eye size and behavioural ecology. Repeat your analysis with both upper and lower estimates.

Collected Species

This table is based on table S1 published with AcuityView: Caves, E. M., & Johnsen, S. (2018). AcuityView: An r package for portraying the effects of visual acuity on scenes observed by an animal. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 9(3), 793–797. doi:10.1111/2041-210X.12911

If you use any of the values from this table please cite the original source in addition to Caves & Johnsen et al. (2018).

Common Name Species Name Acuity (cyc/deg) Citation
Eagle Aquila audax 140 (Reymond, 1985)
Human Homo sapiens 73 (Land 1981)
72(Land and Nilsson 2012)
Octopus Octopus vulgaris 46 (Young 1962; Land 1981)
Jumping Spider Portia fimbriata 12 (Williams & McIntyre 1980)
Cat Felis catus 10 (Wässle 1971)
Goldfish Carassius auratus 7 (Penzlin & Stubbe 1977)
TriggerfishRhinecanthus aculeatus2.75(Champ et al. 2014)
Dragonfly Aeschna grandis 2 (Mazokhin-Porshnyakov 1969; Land 1997)
Hooded Rat Rattus norvegicus 1 (Wiesenfeld & Branchek 1975)
Worker Bee Apis mellifera 0.5 (Wehner 1981; Land 1997)
Crab Leptograspus variegatus 0.3 (Stowe 1980)
Scallop Pecten maximus 0.3 (Land 1981)
Wolf Spider Lycosa spp. 0.2 (Widmann 1908; Homann 1931)
Fly Drosophila melanogaster 0.09 (Wehner 1981; Land 1997)
Horseshoe Crab Limulus polyphemus 0.08 (Barlow, Chamberlain & Levinson 1980)
Nautilus Nautilus spp. 0.06 (Land 1981)
Flatworm Euplanaria gonocephala 0.01 (Land 1981)

Birds

This table is from Graham Martin’s “Sensory Ecology of Birds” (2017) Oxford University Press, reproduced with the kind permission of the author. This textbook is an excellent introduction to avian sensory ecology and is highly recommended reading! If you use any value from this table please cite the original source, and Graham Martin’s textbook.

Order Family Species Acuity (cyc/deg) Acuity (minutes of arc)MethodSources
StruthioniformesStruthionidae (Ostriches)Common Ostrich Struthio camelus19.8 1.5 ganglion (Boire et al. 2001)
Anseriformes Anatidae (Ducks, Geese and Swans) Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 11.9 2.52 ganglion (Lisney et al. 2013a)
Canada Goose Branta canadensis 9.6 3.1 ganglion (Fernandez-Juricic et al. 2011)
Galliformes Phasianidae (Pheasants and allies) Grey Partridge Perdix perdix 10.2 2.9 ganglion (Lisney et al. 2012)
Japanese Quail Coturnix coturnix 9.7 3.1 ganglion
Red Jungle Fowl Gallus gallus 8.3 3.6 ganglion (Ehrlich 1981)
Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus 12.9 2.3 ganglion (Lisney et al. 2012)
Indian Peafowl Pavo cristatus 20.6 1.5 ganglion (Hart 2002)
Procellariiformes Hydrobatidae (Northern Storm Petrels) Leach’s Storm Petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa 7.1 4.2 ganglion (Mitkus 2015)
Procellariidae (Petrels, Shearwaters) Northern Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 44.7 0.7 ganglion
Suliformes Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants, Shags) Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 3.3 (underwater) 9.1 behaviour (White et al. 2007)
Accipitriformes Cathartidae (New World Vultures) Turkey Vulture Cathartes atratus 15.4 1.9 ganglion (Lisney et al. 2013b)
Black Vulture Coragyps aura 15.8 1.9 ganglion
Accipitridae (Kites, Hawks and Eagles) Indian Vulture Gyps indicus 135 0.2 behaviour (Fischer 1969)
Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus 104 0.3 behaviour
Egyptian vulture Neophron percnopterus 135 0.2 behaviour
Wedge-tailed Eagle Aquila audax 142 0.2 behaviour (Reymond 1985)
Black Kite Milvus migrans 37.3 0.8 behaviour (Potier et al. 2016)
Harris’s Hawk Parabuteo unicinctus 29.3 1.0 behaviour
Columbiformes Columbidae (Pigeons, Doves) American Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura 7.6 3.9 ganglion (Dolan and Fernandez-Juricic 2010)
Rock Dove Columba livia 18 1.7 behaviour (Hodos et al. 1976)
Strigiformes Tytonidae (Barn Owls) Western Barn Owl Tyto alba 4.0 7.5 behaviour (Harmening et al. 2009)
Strigidae (Owls) Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus 7.5 4.0 behaviour (Fite 1973)
Tawny Owl Strix aluco 11.1 2.7 behaviour (Martin and Gordon 1974)
Coraciiformes Alcedinidae (Kingfishers) Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae 41 0.7 ganglion (Moroney and Pettigrew 1987)
Sacred Kingfisher Todiramphus sanctus 26 1.2 ganglion
Falconiformes Falconidae (Caracaras, Falcons) American Kestrel Falco sparverius 40 0.75 behaviour (Hirsch 1982)
Brown Falcon Falco berigora 73 0.4 behaviour (Reymond 1987)
Psittaciformes Psittaculidae (Old World Parrots) Bourke’s Parrot Neopsephotus bourkii 9.4 3.2 behaviour (Lind et al. 2012)
Budgerigar Melopsittacus undulatus 11.7 2.6 behaviour
Passeriformes Meliphagidae (Honeyeaters) Brown Honeyeater Lichmera indistincta 20.2 1.5 photoreceptor spacing (Coimbra et al. 2015)
Red Wattlebird Anthochaera carunculata 40.8 0.7 photoreceptor spacing
Acanthizidae (Australasian Warblers) Yellow-rumped Thornbill Acanthiza chrysorrhoa 25.6 1.2 photoreceptor spacing
Corvidae (Crows, Jays) Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata 19 1.6 ganglion (Fite and Rosenfield-Wessels 1975)
Eurasian Magpie Pica pica 33.3 0.9 behaviour (Dabrowska 1975)
Rook Corvus frugilegus 29.5 1.0 behaviour
Paridae (Tits, Chickadees) Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor 6.6 4.5 ganglion (Moore et al. 2013)
Carolina Chickadee Poecile carolinensis 5 0.6 ganglion
Zosteropidae (White-eyes) Silvereye Zosterops lateralis 18.5 1.6 photoreceptor spacing (Coimbra et al. 2015)
Turdidae (Thrushes) Common Blackbird Turdus merula 22.5 1.3 behaviour (Donner 1951)
European Robin Erithacus rubecula 6 5.0 behaviour
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows) House Sparrow Passer domesticus 4.86.3ganglion(Dolan and Fernandez-Juricic 2010)
Fringillidae (Finches) Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs22.51.3behaviour (Donner 1951)
House Finch Haemorhus mexicanus 4.7 6.4 ganglion (Dolan and Fernandez-Juricic 2010)
Emberizidae (Buntings, New World Sparrows) Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella 9.7 3.1 behaviour (Donner 1951)
Common Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus7.83.8behaviour
Human 720.4behaviour (Land and Nilsson 2012)

References

Barlow, R.B., Chamberlain, S.C. & Levinson, J.Z. (1980). Limulus brain modulates the structure and function of the lateral eyes. Science, 210, 1037–1039.

Homann, H. (1931). Beiträge zur Physiologie der Spinnenaugen. I. Untersuchungsmethoden. II. Das Sehvermögen der Salticiden. Z. Vergl. Physiol., 14, 40–67.

Land, M.F. (1981). Optics and vision in invertebrates. Handbook of Sensory Physiology (ed H. Autrum), pp. 471–592. Springer, Berlin.

Land, M.F. (1997). Visual acuity in insects. Annual review of entomology, 42, 147–177.

Mazokhin-Porshnyakov, G.A. (1969). Insect Vision. Plenum Press, New York.

Penzlin, V.H. & Stubbe, M. (1977). Studies on the visual acuity in the Goldfish. Zool. Jb. Physiol. Bd., 81, 310–326.

Reymond, L. (1985). Spatial visual acuity of the eagle Aquila audax: A behavioural, optical and anatomical investigation. Vision Research, 25, 1477–1491.

Stowe, S. (1980). Spectral sensitivity and retinal pigment movement in the crab Leptograspus variegatus (Fabricius). Journal of Experimental Biology, 87, 73–99.

Wässle, H. (1971). Optical quality of the cat eye. Vision Research, 11, 995–1006.

Wehner, R. (1981). Spatial vision in arthropods. Handbook of Sensory Physiology, Vol. VII/6C (ed H. Autrum), pp. 287–616. Springer, Berlin.

Widmann, E. (1908). Über den feineren Bau der Augen einiger Spinnen. Z. Wiss. Zool., 90, 258–312.

Wiesenfeld, Z. & Branchek, T. (1975). Refractive state and visual acuity in the hooded rat. Vision Research, 16, 823–827.

Williams, D.S. & McIntyre, P. (1980). The principal eyes of a jumping spider have a telephoto component. Nature, 288, 578–580.

List of Animal Spatial Acuities