Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Sheryl Coombs; Gary D. Grossman
    Date: 2006
    Source: Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology, Vol. 39(2): 113-130
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    PDF: Download Publication  (1.39 MB)


    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 cms-1). Blinded Lake Michigan, but not Coweeta Creek mottled sculpin exhibited an orienting response to a small (3 mm 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.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Coombs, Sheryl; Grossman, Gary D. 2006. Mechanosensory based orienting behaviors in fluvial and lacustrine populations of mottled sculpin (Cottus bairdi). Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology, Vol. 39(2): 113-130


    Rheotaxis, prey orientation, lateral line, habitat selection, stream fish, lake fish

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page