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Premium Sun‐Orientation and Homing in Fishes 1
Publication year1958
Publication title
limnology and oceanography
Resource typeJournals
The white bass, Roccus chrysops, has two principal spawning grounds 1.6 km apart on the northern shore of Lake Mendota. Fish displaced from these spawning grounds return faithfully to their respective spawning sites, and of 1366 fish marked and displaced to mid‐lake, a distance of 2.4 km, 181 were recaptured in fyke nets and less than 9% erred by being recaptured at the net on the other spawning ground. Fish released at the spawning ground were not recaptured in greater percentage than those displaced and released in mid‐lake. Fish to which floats were attached for direct tracing moved generally north from the center of the lake when released on clear days. Moreover, fish released between the two spawning grounds also moved north on clear days. On cloudy days, however, or if blinded with eyecaps, they moved at random. Unexplained is how they differentiate between the two spawning areas; apparently it is by means other than with the aid of the sun. A laboratory analysis of the sun‐compass mechanism was made. An immature specimen of Lepomis macrochirus was trained, at a specific time of day, to find cover in one of sixteen boxes of a circular tank. When trained, the fish entered the training box in a consistent compass‐direction at any time of day. Under an overcast sky the choices were completely unoriented. When tested under an artificial sun, (light bulb), this fish responded as though it were the real sun, at that time of day and sought cover in the “artificial” direction, reaffirming the presence of a biological clock. White bass were also successfully trained to a compass‐direction under the natural sun. Lepomis gibbosus was tested with another method. It too has a sun‐compass mechanism. These field and laboratory experiments suggest strongly that the sun serves as the point of reference, and that the animal compensates for its movement by a biological chronometer.
Subject(s)biology , ecology , environmental science , fish <actinopterygii> , fishery , full moon , geography , homing (biology) , lepomis macrochirus , meteorology , overcast , shoaling and schooling , shore , sky
SCImago Journal Rank1.7

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