Send to

Choose Destination
Biol Bull. 1993 Aug;185(1):149-151. doi: 10.2307/1542138.

A Light-Independent Magnetic Compass in the Leatherback Sea Turtle.


Diverse animals can orient to the earth's magnetic field (1-6), but the mechanism or mechanisms undrlying magnetic field detection have not been determined. Behavioral (7-9) amd neurophysiological (10-12) results suggest that the transduction process underlying magnetic compass orientation in vertebrates is light-dependent, a finding consistent with theoretical models proposing that magnetoreception involves a modulation of the response of retinal photoreceptors to light (13, 14). We report, however, that leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) hatchlings orient to the geomagnetic field in complete darkness. Thus, light-dependence is not a universal feature of vertebrate magnetic compasses.


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for University of Chicago Press
Loading ...
Support Center