The pigmentation of black (wild) and red (mutant) eyes of Triatoma infestans was studied spectrophotometrically and compared with red-eyed (wild) and white-eyed (mutant) forms of Drosophila melanogaster. The spectral absorption profiles of the black and red eye pigments of T. infestans were similar to each other and to that of the wild-type eyes of D. melanogaster. The similarity to the wild form of D. melanogaster indicated that both eye forms of T. infestans contained ommochromes of the xanthommatin type, a finding confirmed by ascending paper chromatography. Pteridines, melanins, and ommins were not detected as eye pigments in T. infestans. The eye color difference in T. infestans was assumed to be a function of the xanthommatin concentration, with a smaller content of ommochrome in red eyes, although this probably did not affect the insect's visual acuity. These data support other findings regarding the similarities between black- and red-eyed specimens of T. infestans for other characteristics.
Triatoma infestans; eye color; black eyes; red-eyed mutant; ommochrome; spectral absorption profiles