Evidence of light-dependent magnetic compass orientation in urodele amphibian larvae

Diego-Rasilla, F. J. , Luengo, R. M. & Phillips, J. B. (2015). Evidence of light-dependent magnetic compass orientation in urodele amphibian larvae. Behavioural Processes, 118: 1-7. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2015.05.007

Experiments were conducted to investigate whether larval palmate newts undertake orientation toward or away from the home shoreline (y-axis orientation) using the geomagnetic field to steer the most direct route, and if they accomplish this task through a light-dependent magnetoreception mechanism similar to that found in anuran tadpoles and adult newts. Larval palmate newts trained and then tested under full-spectrum light showed bimodal magnetic compass orientation that coincided with the magnetic direction of the trained y-axis. In contrast, larvae trained under long-wavelength (≥500 nm) light and then tested under full-spectrum light displayed bimodal orientation perpendicular to the trained y-axis direction. These results offer evidence for the use of magnetic compass cues in orienting urodele amphibian larvae, and provide additional support for the light-dependent magnetoreception mechanism since they are in complete agreement with earlier studies showing that the observed 90° shift in the direction of magnetic compass orientation under long-wavelength light (≥500 nm) is due to a direct effect of light on the underlying magnetoreception mechanism. This study is the first to provide evidence of a light-dependent magnetic compass in larval urodeles.

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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