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The role of olfaction in homing and estuarine migratory behavior of yellow-phase American eels

Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

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Abstract

The role of olfaction in homing migrations of American eels (Anguilla rostrata) was examined in the Penobscot Estuary, Maine, U.S.A. Ultrasonic telemetry was used to track continuously (65 ?? 12 h) 16 yellow eels displaced from a capture site. Four eels were not treated, eight rendered anosmic, and four rendered partially anosmic. All normal, only three anosmic, and two partially anosmic eels homed. Normal eels expressed a singular behavioral pattern, selective tidal stream transport (STST). STST was also displayed by three anosmic eels and one partially anosmic eel. Three alternative behavioral patterns ('sporadic vertical excursions,' 'sloshing,' and 'directed swimming') were displayed by the remainder of the anosmic and partially anosmic eels. Eels that displayed STST used the water column differently (moving at depths shallower than the thermocline, halocline, and pycnocline) from those that displayed other behaviors. Olfaction seems to be important for discrimination of the appropriate tide for transport and location of a home site but is not the only orientational mechanism used in estuaries. Mechanisms used to detect rates of change of water mass characteristics are probably important for guidance of estuarine migrations.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
The role of olfaction in homing and estuarine migratory behavior of yellow-phase American eels
Series title:
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Volume
55
Issue:
3
Year Published:
1998
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
First page:
564
Last page:
575
Number of Pages:
12