Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 193, Issue 12, pp 1259–1263 | Cite as

Locomotor activity rhythm and sun compass orientation in the sandhopper Talitrus saltator are related

  • Alberto UgoliniEmail author
  • Silvia Somigli
  • Vittorio Pasquali
  • Paolo Renzi
Short Communication


The sandhopper Talitrus saltator has an endogenous activity rhythm with a circadian periodicity. It is well known for its ability to compensate for the apparent movement of the sun during its migrations along the sea–land axis of the beach. Both chronometric mechanisms are entrained by the natural LD photoperiod. Using actographic recordings and tests of solar orientation of individuals kept under an LD 12:12 clock-shifted cycle, after 1–13 days of treatment, we demonstrate that the timing mechanism of activity rhythm and the chronometric mechanism underlying the sun compass are the same.


Talitrus saltator Activity rhythm Orientation Sun compass Chronometric mechanism 



Expected direction of orientation based on a complete clock shifting




Subjective expected direction of orientation


Y axis



We wish to thank Prof. E. Naylor (University of Wales, Bangor, UK) for his critical revision of the manuscript and for his stimulating discussion. The research was funded by the Università di Firenze (local funds ex-60% assigned to A. Ugolini) and by the Università di Roma “La Sapienza” (faculty research funds assigned to P. Renzi).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alberto Ugolini
    • 1
  • Silvia Somigli
    • 1
  • Vittorio Pasquali
    • 2
  • Paolo Renzi
    • 2
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e GeneticaUniversità di FirenzeFlorenceItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Psicologia, Sezione di NeuroscienzeUniversità di Roma “La Sapienza”RomeItaly

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