Coral Reefs

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 184–191 | Cite as

Directional orientation of pomacentrid larvae to ambient reef sound

  • N. Tolimieri
  • O. Haine
  • A. Jeffs
  • R. McCauley
  • J. Montgomery


The mechanisms by which reef fish larvae locate settlement habitat at the end of their pelagic phase are unclear. We used an in situ binary choice chamber and an artificial source of reef sound to determine whether pomacentrid larvae can use ambient sound to locate reefs. Larvae were caught in light traps and then placed in a submerged binary choice chamber with an artificial source of reef sound ~80 m from one end of the chamber. At night, larvae moved towards the sound source; during the day, larvae showed no preference. These results suggest that pomacentrid larvae can detect reef sound and are capable of directional hearing. While other studies have shown that reef fish larvae respond to reef sound, and that the adults of some species can localize underwater sound sources, the localization of underwater sound by fish larvae has not been demonstrated previously.


Reef fish Larvae Sound Orientation Directional hearing 



We thank two anonymous reviewers, T. Willis and N. Shears, and the Leigh Lab journal discussion group for comments on the MS. Thanks also to the staff at Lizard Island, J. Brown, W.M. Thorton, J. Gilberto, H. Ledbetter, F.M. Giambartolomei, and S. Simpson for general help and discussion. Thanks to D. Parsons, T. Smith, B. Roll, H.K.Y. Sack, J. Walker, R. Ford, and N. Shears for post-lunch discussions. This work was supported by the Marsden Fund.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Tolimieri
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
  • O. Haine
    • 1
    • 2
  • A. Jeffs
    • 3
  • R. McCauley
    • 4
  • J. Montgomery
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Leigh Marine LabWarkworthNew Zealand
  2. 2.Experimental Biology Research Group, School of Biological SciencesUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  3. 3.National Institute of Water and Atmospheric ResearchAucklandNew Zealand
  4. 4.Centre for Marine Science and TechnologyCurtin UniversityPerthAustralia
  5. 5.Northwest Fisheries Science CenterSeattleUSA

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