Recent experiments have demonstrated that hatchling loggerhead sea turtles can orient using the earth's magnetic field. To investigate the functional characteristics of the loggerhead magnetic compass, we tested the orientation of hatchlings tethered inside a circular arena surrounded by a coil system that could be used to reverse the vertical and horizontal components of the ambient field. Hatchlings tested in darkness in the earth's magnetic field were significantly oriented in an eastward direction. Inverting the vertical magnetic field component resulted in an approximate reversal of orientation direction, whereas reversing both the vertical and horizontal components together did not. The hatchlings failed to orient in a horizontal field of earth-strength intensity. These results provide evidence that the magnetic compass of loggerheads is an inclination (axial) compass, functionally similar to that of birds.
JOURNAL ARTICLE| 01 September 1993
GEOMAGNETIC ORIENTATION OF LOGGERHEAD SEA TURTLES: EVIDENCE FOR AN INCLINATION COMPASS
K. J. Lohmann
Online Issn: 1477-9145
Print Issn: 0022-0949
© 1993 by Company of Biologists
J Exp Biol (1993) 182 (1): 1–10.
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P. Light, M. Salmon, K. J. Lohmann; GEOMAGNETIC ORIENTATION OF LOGGERHEAD SEA TURTLES: EVIDENCE FOR AN INCLINATION COMPASS. J Exp Biol 1 September 1993; 182 (1): 1–10. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.182.1.1
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