Use of a light-dependent magnetic compass for y-axis orientation in European common frog (Rana temporaria) tadpoles


Diego-Rasilla, F. J., Luengo, R. M., Phillips, J. B. 2013 Use of a light-dependent magnetic compass for y-axis orientation in European common frog (Rana temporaria) tadpoles. J Comp Physiol A. 199, 619-628. doi: 10.1007/s00359-013-0811-0

Photo: F. J. Diego-Rasilla. European common frog tadpoles.

We provide evidence for the use of a magnetic compass for y-axis orientation (i.e., orientation along the shore-deep water axis) by tadpoles of the European common frog (Rana temporaria). Furthermore, our study provides evidence for a wavelength-dependent effect of light on magnetic compass orientation in amphibians. Tadpoles trained and then tested under full-spectrum light displayed magnetic compass orientation that coincided with the trained shore-deep water axes of their training tanks. Conversely, tadpoles trained under long-wavelength (≥500 nm) light and tested under full-spectrum light, and tadpoles trained under full-spectrum light and tested under long-wavelength (≥500 nm) light, exhibited a 90° shift in magnetic compass orientation relative to the trained y-axis direction. Our results are consistent with earlier studies showing that the observed 90° shift in the direction of magnetic compass orientation under long-wavelength (≥500 nm) light is due to a direct effect of light on the underlying magnetoreception mechanism. These findings also show that wavelength-dependent effects of light do not compromise the function of the magnetic compass under a wide range of natural lighting conditions, presumably due to a large asymmetry in the relatively sensitivity of antagonistic short- and long-wavelength inputs to the light-dependent magnetic compass.

Acerca de Francisco Javier Diego-Rasilla

Ph.D. in Biological Sciences. Enjoy teaching and making science. Ongoing research: reptile and amphibian conservation, behavioural studies of amphibians and reptiles, orientation behaviour, magnetic cues in orientation,...
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