Host location in flow by larvae of the symbiotic barnacle Trevathana dentata using odour-gated rheotaxis

Zohar Pasternak, Bernd Blasius, Yair Achituv, Avigdor Abelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The detection and location of specific organisms in the aquatic environment, whether they are mates, prey or settlement sites, are two of the most important challenges facing aquatic animals. Large marine invertebrates such as lobsters have been found to locate specific organisms by navigating in the plume of chemicals emitted by the target. However, active plume tracking in flow by small organisms such as marine larvae has received little scientific attention. Here, we present results from a study examining host location in flow by nauplius larvae of the barnacle Trevathana dentata, which inhabits the stony reef coral Cyphastrea chalcidicum. The experiments included analysis of larval motion in an annular flume under four conditions: (i) still water, (ii) in flow, (iii) in still water with waterborne host metabolites and (iv) in flow with host metabolites. Our results show that T. dentata nauplii are unable to locate their target organism in still water using chemotaxis, but are capable of efficient host location in flow using odour-gated rheotaxis. This technique may enable host location by earlier, less-developed larval stages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1745-1750
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1549
StatePublished - 22 Aug 2004


  • Chemotaxis
  • Flow
  • Host location
  • Invertebrate
  • Larva
  • Rheotaxis


Dive into the research topics of 'Host location in flow by larvae of the symbiotic barnacle Trevathana dentata using odour-gated rheotaxis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this