Terrestrial and Aquatic Orientation in the Starhead Topminnow, Fundulus Notti

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Science  01 May 1970:
Vol. 168, Issue 3931, pp. 603-605
DOI: 10.1126/science.168.3931.603


Starhead topminnows from various shores of a small woodland pond were displaced to unfamiliar surroundings, and their orientation was tested in aquatic and terrestrial arenas. These fish used a sun compass to move in a direction which, at the location of their capture, would have returned them to the land-water interface. The fish accomplished directional terrestrial locomotion by using the position of the sun to align its body for each jump. On heavily overcast days many fish were unable to orient their bodies in a consistent direction from, jump to jump; this inability to orient resulted in random rather than linear movement. There was considerable individual variation in terrestrial locomotor ability.

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