Whether European eel leptocephali use the Earth’s magnetic field to guide their migration remains an open question

Type Article
Date 2017-09
Language English
Author(s) Durif Caroline M. F.1, Bonhommeau SylvainORCID2, Briand Cedric3, Browman Howard I.1, Castonguay Martin4, Daverat Francoise5, Dekker Willem6, Diaz Estibaliz7, Hanel Reinhold8, Miller Michael J.9, Moore Andy10, Paris Claire B.11, Skiftesvik Anne Berit1, Westerberg Hakan6, Wickstrom Hakan6
Affiliation(s) 1 : Inst Marine Res, Austevoll Res Stn, N-5392 Storebo, Norway.
2 : Ifremer, Delegat Reunion, Rue Jean Bertho,BP 60, F-97822 Le Port, France.
3 : EPTB Vilaine, F-56130 La Roche Bernard, France.
4 : Fisheries & Oceans Canada, 850 Route Mer,CP 1000, Mont Joli, PQ G5H 3Z4, Canada.
5 : Ctr Bordeaux, IRSTEA, 50 Ave Verdun Gazinet, F-33612 Cestas, France.
6 : Swedish Univ Agr Sci, Dept Aquat Resources, Inst Freshwater Res, Stangholmsvagen 2, SE-17893 Drottningholm, Sweden.
7 : AZTI, Div Marine Res, Sukarrieta 48395, Bizkaia, Spain.
8 : Thunen Inst Fisheries Ecol, D-922767 Hamburg, Germany.
9 : Nihon Univ, Coll Bioresource Sci, Dept Marine Sci & Resources, 1866 Kameino, Fujisawa, Kanagawa 2520880, Japan.
10 : Lowestoft Lab, Pakefi eld Rd, Lowestoft NR33 0HT, Suffolk, England.
11 : Univ Miami, Rosenstiel Sch Marine & Atmospher Sci, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149 USA.
Source Current Biology (0960-9822) (Cell Press), 2017-09 , Vol. 27 , N. 18 , P. R998-R1000
DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2017.08.045
WOS© Times Cited 5

European eels (Anguilla anguilla) migrate between the southwestern Sargasso Sea and the European and Mediterranean coasts. In a recent paper in Current Biology, Naisbett-Jones et al. [1] claim to “provide the first evidence that they [eels] derive positional information from the Earth’s magnetic field” and that this information guides their migration. The evidence reported by Naisbett-Jones et al. [1] in support of this conclusion was derived from eels collected in the Severn River (UK), approximately 50 km upstream of the estuary (i.e. not “in the Severn Estuary” as stated by the authors). Eels collected this far into rivers are benthic and fully adapted to freshwater; that is, they are late-stage glass eels (∼ 2 years old), not the pelagic leptocephalus (larval) life stage that actually undertakes the trans-Atlantic migration. The entire interpretive framework for the Naisbett-Jones et al. [1] study rests on the assumption that the behaviour of these late-stage freshwater glass eels, and their responses to magnetic fields, can be used as a proxy for the responses of eel leptocephali. The authors present no evidence in support of this key assumption.

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Durif Caroline M. F., Bonhommeau Sylvain, Briand Cedric, Browman Howard I., Castonguay Martin, Daverat Francoise, Dekker Willem, Diaz Estibaliz, Hanel Reinhold, Miller Michael J., Moore Andy, Paris Claire B., Skiftesvik Anne Berit, Westerberg Hakan, Wickstrom Hakan (2017). Whether European eel leptocephali use the Earth’s magnetic field to guide their migration remains an open question. Current Biology, 27(18), R998-R1000. Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2017.08.045 , Open Access version : https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00403/51467/