Celestial and Idiothetic Compasses in a Path Integrating Mantis Shrimp

Meeting Abstract

13-5  Friday, Jan. 4 11:15 – 11:30  Celestial and Idiothetic Compasses in a Path Integrating Mantis Shrimp PATEL, RN*; CRONIN, TW; Univ. of Maryland, Baltimore County; Univ. of Maryland, Baltimore County rickp1@umbc.edu http://www.rickeshpatel.weebly.com

Stomatopods, better known as mantis shrimp, are predatory crustaceans which commonly inhabit holes in benthic marine environments for use as burrows. Many stomatopod species forage at extended distances from these burrows before returning back to their homes, risking predation. Previous work had uncovered that the mantis shrimp, Neogonodactlyus oerstedii use landmark navigation in parallel with a path integration system to efficiently return to their burrows after foraging. Path integration requires an animal to possess a compass sense to infer its orientation in space and an odometer to measure the distance it travels in given directions. In order to begin to discern what compass cues inform the path integrator of N. oerstedii, individuals were placed in circular arenas under open skies with their burrows hidden from view. During foraging, animals were rotated 180 degrees on platforms placed in the center of these circular arenas. Under clear and partly cloudy skies, rotated animals exhibited homeward paths oriented towards the burrow despite being passively rotated. In contrast, under heavily overcast skies, rotated animals exhibited homeward paths oriented in the opposite direction of the burrow. These results indicate that N. oerstedii uses a celestial compass when available. However, when celestial cues are obscured, N. oerstedii appears to rely on an idiothetic (internally referenced) compass during path integration. Future work will aim to uncover which specific cues inform the celestial and idiothetic compasses of N. oerstedii.

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