Development of the olfactory system of the white sucker, Catostomus commersoni, in relation to imprinting and homing: a comparison to the salmonid model

Robert G. Werner, Michael J. Lannoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

White suckers, Catastomus commersoni, use olfactory cues to return to the same spawning stream year after year. If we assume that they follow a model similar to the well-known salmon model, olfactory imprinting must occur very early in their development. We describe the time of migration from the nursery stream in relation to the development of the white sucker olfactory system to determine if the requisite anatomical structures are present which would permit imprinting. At hatching the olfactory placode is present and beginning to differentiate, the lumen of the olfactory capsule is starting to form, and the olfactory tract projects into the telencephalon. Larvae migrate approximately 2 weeks later or at a size of 14 mm TL. At this time olfactory cilia are present, the olfactory tract is robust and the telencephalon is beginning to differentiate. Therefore, it appears that the fundamental neural structures necessary for imprinting are present. A comparison with salmon, however, clearly demonstrates that the white sucker olfactory apparatus is not as well developed as that of salmon at time of migration. This raises the question of the ability of white suckers to imprint in the same manner as salmon and whether the salmonid model is applicable to white suckers. Alternative imprinting hypotheses are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-140
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironmental Biology of Fishes
Volume40
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 1994

Keywords

  • Adirondack ecosystem
  • Fish larvae
  • Migration
  • Neuroethology
  • Telencephalon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Aquatic Science

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