At Reef small fishes have found the built-in “magnetic compass”

Professor Mike Kingsford from James Cook University in a cooperation with colleagues from Germany found out how the tiny reef small fish cardinal (Latin of Tanichthys albonubes) finds the road to the house in outer darkness when in the night sky there is no star.

“This research is the first accurate proof that larvae of reef fishes possess feeling of magnetism which helps them to be guided with water days at night — professor tells. — Still we knew only about the adult birds, marine mammals, sharks and bony fishes having this built-in “navigator””.

“We caught small fishes cardinals near the island of the Great Barrier Reef of Uan-Tri-Aylend and checked their capability to be guided in complete darkness, using the same magnetic field, as on a reef”.

“In usual conditions fish went to the southeast, but when we changed the direction of magnetic field clockwise to 120 degrees, there was an essential change: all fishes turned to the west, thinking that all of them on the way to the destination”.

“Our results show that larvae can use internal magnetic “compass” for determination of the direction of movement at night”.

“We know from the previous researches that as soon as they come to the purpose, “homing process” when larvae rely on a smell, sounds and other signs begins to find a reef and to locate on it”.

Reef fishes are born from berries in a larval form and dissipate in ocean waters within several days or several months before come back home or will find other reef where will carry out all life. They are good swimmers and precisely know where they float thanks to what have some control over a reef and local currents.

According to scientists, this information will help to develop more exact models of distribution of larvae for establishment of an effective method of their protection and maintenance of stable fish inventories.