1. The spectral sensitivity of the photoreceptors of a white-eye mutant of the housefly Musca domestica has been measured to 250 nm. in the mid-ultraviolet. Maximum sensitivity is at 340-350 nm., as in the wild-type eye, and decreases at shorter wavelengths with a distinct shoulder at 280 nm.
2. Microspectrophotometric measurements of individual corneal facets show little absorption at wavelengths longer than 300 nm. but a sharp band (peak density about 0.4) at 277 nm. Adjustment of the spectral sensitivity curve for the filtering effect of the cornea makes the 280 nm. shoulder more prominent, suggesting the presence of energy transfer from the protein component of the visual pigment to the chromophore.
3. The short-wavelength limit of the housefly's visible spectrum is determined by the availability of ultraviolet light and is about 300 nm. in nature. The long-wavelength limit is set by the falling absorption of the visual pigment in the red.