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Use of a Magnetic Compass for Y-Axis Orientation in Larval Bullfrogs, Rana catesbeiana
Michael J. Freake, S. Chris Borland and John B. Phillips
Vol. 2002, No. 2 (May 21, 2002), pp. 466-471
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1448064
Page Count: 6
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The use of a magnetic compass plays a significant role in the daily and seasonal movements of numerous organisms; however among amphibians, magnetic compass orientation has been convincingly demonstrated only in eastern red-spotted newts, Notophthalmus viridescens, with some indirect evidence coming from several species of bufonid toads. In this study, larval bullfrogs, Rana catesbeiana, were trained in outdoor tanks with two different Y-axis (shore/deep water) directions and then tested in an indoor arena in one of four symmetrical alignments of an earth-strength magnetic field. The tadpoles oriented bimodally along the correct magnetic direction of the Y-axis experienced during training, demonstrating that this anuran species is able to learn and orient along the Y-axis by sensing the geomagnetic field.