Homing in rocky intertidal fish. Are Lipophrys pholis L. able to perform true navigation?
- 372 Downloads
Although navigation is common in many animals, only a few perform true navigation, meaning that they have the ability to return to a given place by relying on indirect cues obtained at the release site (i.e., by relying on information from a “map and compass” mechanism). The common intertidal fish, Lipophrys pholis, is thought to have homing abilities through a mechanism that primarily makes use of familiar landmarks (i.e., piloting). Anecdotal reports that individuals return to their home pools after release at unfamiliar sites suggest that L. pholis might use cues collected at the release site to find their way back (i.e., they might use map and compass information). Using a completely artificial setup, we tested the homing abilities of L. pholis as a function of age, sex, and familiarity with the release site. The findings showed that motivation for homing is present only in the adult phase and is independent of sex and/or familiarity with the release site. Moreover, adults released at a completely unfamiliar place oriented themselves in a direction roughly similar to that of their home pools. The fact that L. pholis were tested in a complete artificial environment means that hydrodynamic cues can be excluded as playing a role in this process and restricts the candidate options (e.g., magnetic cues). The ability to perform navigation based on a “map and compass” mechanism raises many interesting questions about the learning process, once these individuals have restricted home ranges during their lives. In vertebrate navigation, the cues used during the navigation process are a question of debate, and L. pholis offers an outstanding model to test hypotheses and ultimately provide answers.
KeywordsTrue navigation Path integration Landmarks Navigational maps
PEJ was supported by grant SFRH/BPD/64087/2009; FA by grant SFRH/BPD/63170/2009; and AG by grant SFRH/BD/42226/2007, all from the Portuguese Science Foundation (FCT). The UIE-ISPA is funded by FCT through the pluri-annual and programmatic funding scheme (FEDER) as research unit #331/94.
- Almada V, Dores J, Pinheiro A, Santos RS (1983) Contribuição para o estudo do comportamento de Coryphoblennius galerita (L.) (Pisces: Blenniidae). Mem Mus Mar Ser Zool 2:1–165Google Scholar
- Almada VC, Oliveira R, Barata E, Gonçalves EJ, Rito A (1990b) Field observations on the behaviour of the breeding males of Lipophrys pholis (Pisces: Blenniidae). Portugaliae Zoologica 1:27–36Google Scholar
- Arondson IR (1951) Orientation and jumping behavior in the gobiid fish Bathygobius soporator. Amer Mus Novit 1480:1–22Google Scholar
- Batschelet E (1981) Circular statistics in biology. Academic Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Green JM, Wroblewski JS (2000) Movement patterns of Atlantic cod in Gilbert Bay, Labrador: evidence for bay residency and spawning site fidelity. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 80:1077–1085Google Scholar
- Jorge PE (2011) Odors in the context of animal navigation. In: Weiss LE, Atwood JM (eds) The biology of odors. Nova Science Publishers Inc, New York, pp 207–226Google Scholar
- Nieder J (1993) Distribution of juvenile blennies (Pisces, Blenniidae) in small tide-pools: result of low-tide lottery or strategic habitat selection. Bonn Zool Beitr 44:133–140Google Scholar
- Qasim SZ (1957) The biology of Blennius pholis L (Teleostei). Proc Zool Soc Lond 128:161–208Google Scholar
- Quinn TP (2005) The behavior and ecology of Pacific Salmon and Trout. University of Washington Press, SeattleGoogle Scholar
- Rodríguez F, Broglio C, Durán E, Gómez A, Salas C (2006) Neural mechanisms of learning in teleost fish. In: Brown C, Laland K, Krause J (eds) Fish cognition and behaviour. Blackwell, Oxford, pp 243–277Google Scholar
- Santos RS, Almada VC, Santos AJ (1989) Field experiments and observations on homing and territoriality in intertidal blennies. In: Blanchard RJ, Brain PF, Blanchard DC, Parmigiani S (eds) Ethoexperimental approaches to the study of behaviour. Kluwer Academic Publishers, vol 48, pp 623–632Google Scholar
- Wallraff HG (2005) Avian navigation: Pigeon homing as a paradigm. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
- Williams GC (1957) Homing behavior of California rocky shore fishes. Univ Calif Publ Zool 59:249–284Google Scholar