What is a Nictitating Membrane?

Berry Eagle 021816k copy

What is a Nictitating Membrane?
Often we see images of birds and other animals where it appears their eye is white or foggy. It is what is known as a nictitating membrane or a third eyelid. It is for protection or lubrication of the eye while still allowing the animal to see through the eye. Humans probably had a functioning one many years ago but over time have lost it as have many mammals. If you look in the inner portion of your eye you will see a small pink spot, it is what is left of our nictitating membrane or the “plica semilunaris of conjunctiva”. That is your natural history lesson for the day.
Tamron SP 150-600mm Di VC USD lens on a Nikon D-7200, Manual Mode, f8, ISO 800, resulting in a shutter speed of 1/800th of a second, Sirui N3204X tripod and PH20 Gimbal Head, Peak Design strap, Lowepro photo backpack, processed in Lightroom CC.

6 Responses to “What is a Nictitating Membrane?”

  1. Interesting bit of information!

  2. lilybug1960 Says:


  3. teri mathis Says:

    Hi David. Anna Mary Ellerby, in one of the GNPA chapters (and whom I’ve known for many decades!) recommended I contact you. We have a very active Fort Bend Photography Club in southeast Texas. I’m always seeking speakers. Our meetins are the last Tuesday of each month and I’m looking at openings from April on.

    David, if you would like to email me, it’s terihmathis@gmail.com. We don’t know much about the lenses you use in this part of the country and would like to learn. BTW, your work is GORGEOUS!!!

    • lilybug1960 Says:

      Hi Teri,Thank you for contacting me. This year is pretty booked but I would love to come out there. I am scheduled to be in New Mexico however in November, but I am not sure of the dates yet. Is that a possibility?

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