Sensory - Magnetoreception Development

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Magnetoreception is a sensory system that allows some species, not humans, to sense the earth's geomagnetic field.


  • Zebrafish and medaka[1]

Some Recent Findings

  • Zebrafish and medaka offer insights into the neurobehavioral correlates of vertebrate magnetoreception[1] "An impediment to a mechanistic understanding of how some species sense the geomagnetic field ("magnetoreception") is the lack of vertebrate genetic models that exhibit well-characterized magnetoreceptive behavior and are amenable to whole-brain analysis. We investigated the genetic model organisms zebrafish and medaka, whose young stages are transparent and optically accessible. In an unfamiliar environment, adult fish orient according to the directional change of a magnetic field even in darkness. To enable experiments also in juveniles, we applied slowly oscillating magnetic fields, aimed at generating conflicting sensory inputs during exploratory behavior. Medaka (but not zebrafish) increase their locomotor activity in this assay. Complementary brain activity mapping reveals neuronal activation in the lateral hindbrain during magnetic stimulation. These comparative data support magnetoreception in teleosts, provide evidence for a light-independent mechanism, and demonstrate the usefulness of zebrafish and medaka as genetic vertebrate models for studying the biophysical and neuronal mechanisms underlying magnetoreception."
More recent papers  
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Search term: Magnetoreception

Thomas P Fay, Lachlan P Lindoy, David E Manolopoulos Spin-selective electron transfer reactions of radical pairs: Beyond the Haberkorn master equation. J Chem Phys: 2018, 149(6);064107 PubMed 30111149

Lukas Landler, Graeme D Ruxton, E Pascal Malkemper Circular data in biology: advice for effectively implementing statistical procedures. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. (Print): 2018, 72(8);128 PubMed 30100666

Svenja Engels, Christoph Daniel Treiber, Marion Claudia Salzer, Andreas Michalik, Lyubov Ushakova, David Anthony Keays, Henrik Mouritsen, Dominik Heyers Lidocaine is a nocebo treatment for trigeminally mediated magnetic orientation in birds. J R Soc Interface: 2018, 15(145); PubMed 30089685

Sarafina M Kimø, Ida Friis, Ilia A Solov'yov Atomistic Insights into Cryptochrome Interprotein Interactions. Biophys. J.: 2018; PubMed 30078611

Ahne Myklatun, Antonella Lauri, Stephan H K Eder, Michele Cappetta, Denis Shcherbakov, Wolfgang Wurst, Michael Winklhofer, Gil G Westmeyer Author Correction: Zebrafish and medaka offer insights into the neurobehavioral correlates of vertebrate magnetoreception. Nat Commun: 2018, 9(1);2859 PubMed 30018324


  1. 1.0 1.1 Myklatun A, Lauri A, Eder SHK, Cappetta M, Shcherbakov D, Wurst W, Winklhofer M & Westmeyer GG. (2018). Zebrafish and medaka offer insights into the neurobehavioral correlates of vertebrate magnetoreception. Nat Commun , 9, 802. PMID: 29476093 DOI.

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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2018, August 21) Embryology Sensory - Magnetoreception Development. Retrieved from

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© Dr Mark Hill 2018, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G