Magnetotaxis and orientation of chitons Mopalia muscosa
Peng, Yu-Hsuan (Mary)
MetadataShow full item record
Previous studies on magnetotaxis behavior have found a diverse range of taxa, such as reptiles, birds, and even bacteria, that use magnetite to gather information about their geographic position based on gradients in the earth’s magnetic field. Among the polyplacophorans, it appears that the specific chiton species, Mopalia muscosa (Polyplacophora) also contain magnetite in the lateral teeth of their radula. The purpose of this study is to examine as to whether if magnetite bearing chitons exhibit magnetotactic behavior. This study was conducted in two parts: an artificial ambient magnetic field was manipulated in a laboratory to test for any magnetotactic behavioral responses. Through field observations, we observed the head orientation of chiton (vertical pitch and positional degree) which was documented in their natural habitat. Our artificial ambient magnetic field results indicate differences in head orientation between control group and experimental group and were statistically significant with a p-value <0.02. The chitons’ heads orientation found in the three outdoor sites were not significantly significant but the mean vector in the raw data plot in each site pointed in the same direction. Our data suggests that chiton have an ability to detect the ambient magnetic field, which can influence their orientation.