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