The responses of attached lampreys to homogeneous visual stimulation and the role of visual stimuli in orientation during locomotion were investigated. Experiments were performed by video recording the responses of intact and lesioned animals to illumination. The following results were obtained. 1. In lampreys attached with their sucker mouth to the bottom of the aquarium, illumination of one eye evoked several possible motor responses (ordered after mean latency): (a) movement of the illuminated eye downwards, and the contralateral eye upwards; (b) rotation of the body around the longitudinal axis, with the illuminated side tilting downwards; (c) deviation of the caudal part of the anterior dorsal fin in the contralateral direction (away from the light); and (d) flexion of the neck and body towards the side of illumination. 2. Illumination of one eye in attached lampreys often resulted in detachment and subsequent movement in a direction away from the light source (negative phototaxis). This response was not related to the degree of roll tilt before detachment, so the negative phototaxis does not appear to be a consequence of the vestibular stimulation. 3. Negative phototaxis was also seen during locomotion: lampreys turned through 180 ° when they approached a brightly illuminated area. Photostimulation also affected their orientation in the transverse plane during swimming. Illumination of one eye from the side induced a roll movement, so that the illuminated side tilted downwards and the dorsum of the lamprey became turned towards the light. This is similar to the 'dorsal light response' of fish and shows that vision also plays a role in postural control in lampreys. 4. The behaviour of blinded animals differed strikingly from that of intact ones. Whereas intact animals preferentially swam close to the bottom, along horizontal trajectories, blinded animals showed episodes of continuous swimming upwards, near the water surface. During horizontal swimming, their orientation in the transverse plane remained normal, with the dorsal side up.
Spatial orientation in the lamprey. II. Visual influence on orientation during locomotion and in the attached state
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F Ullén, T G Deliagina, G N Orlovsky, S Grillner; Spatial orientation in the lamprey. II. Visual influence on orientation during locomotion and in the attached state. J Exp Biol 1 March 1995; 198 (3): 675–681. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.198.3.675
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