Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology, 2006. Paper abstract bibtex
We compared prey-orienting and rheotactic behaviors in a fluvial (Coweeta Creek) and lacustrine (Lake Michigan) population of mottled sculpin. Blinded sculpin from both populations exhibited unconditioned, mechanosensory based rheotaxis to low velocity flows. Whereas Lake Michigan sculpin generally showed increasing levels of positive rheotaxis to increasing velocities, Coweeta Creek sculpin show varying levels of positive rheotaxis at low to intermediate velocities and often reduced positive rheotaxis or even negative rheotaxis at the highest velocities (12 cm s-1). Blinded Lake Michigan, but not Coweeta Creek mottled sculpin exhibited an orienting response to a small (3mm diameter) artificial prey (50 Hz vibrating sphere). In conclusion, the two populations differed in the strength and polarity of the rheotactic response at higher velocities and in their responsiveness to mechanosensory cues from epibenthic prey sources. These behavioral differences have most likely arisen from different learning experiences in different habitats and from the greater importance of visual cues to the Coweeta Creek mottled sculpin and mechanosensory cues to Lake Michigan mottled sculpin in the sensory guidance of orienting behaviors.