Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 165, Issue 5, pp 643–649 | Cite as

Multisensory control of eye-stalk orientation in space: crabs from different habitats rely on different senses

  • Hans -Ortwin Nalbach
  • Jochen Zeil
  • Luise Forzin


  1. 1.

    We recorded compensatory eye stalk movements in response to pitch and roll stimulation of the visual, statocyst, and leg-proprioceptive systems in different species of crabs (Carcinus maenas, Heloecius cordiformis, Pachygrapsus marmoratus) (Fig. 2).

  2. 2.

    The relative contribution of visual, statocyst and leg-proprioceptive inputs to eye stabilization in space varies greatly among different species (Fig. 3).

  3. 3.

    We suggest that for stabilizing the eyes in space, the contribution of various sensory inputs in different species of crabs correspond to the availability of cues in their habitat. Semiterrestrial crabs living in a habitat with well defined and predictable visual geometry stabilize their eye stalks mainly by visual cues. Crabs living on solid substrate make strong use of leg proprioceptive input. Swimming crabs, and other predominantly aquatic crabs, rely mainly on their statocysts.



Sensory Input Solid Substrate Proprioceptive Input Swimming Crab Roll Stimulation 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans -Ortwin Nalbach
    • 1
  • Jochen Zeil
    • 1
  • Luise Forzin
    • 1
  1. 1.Lehrstuhl für BiokybernetikUniversität TübingenTübingenFederal Republic of Germany

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