SREL Reprint #0637




Sun Compass Orientation of Immature Bluegill

C. Phillip Goodyear and David H. Bennett



Immature bluegills, Lepomis macrochirus [N= 389], were collected from Par Pond, a 1,120 hectare impoundment on the United States Department of Energy’s Savannah river Plant near Aiken, South Carolina, and tested individually by observing their directional movement from the center of a circular testing facility.  Bluegills captured 10-20m from shore in areas lacking extensive submerged vegetation swam in a direction which would have taken them to shore at the area of their capture, whereas those taken from areas having submerged vegetation offshore swam in the direction opposite from shore.  The directional responses of fish that were phase shifted by 6 hours demonstrated that they were using time-compensated sun orientation.  Fish exposed to a predator oriented in the direction of shore in their training facility, but if no predators had been present during training, moved in the direction of deep water.  Present evidence indicates that immature bluegills use their sun compass mechanism in oriented movements and that he observed behavior is probably related to avoidance of their predators.


SREL Reprint #0637

Goodyear, C.P. and D.H. Bennett. 1979. Sun compass orientation of immature bluegill. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 108:555-559.

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