First evidence of fish sensing geomagnetic fields from a Czech Christmas market

Dec 05, 2012
Graphic demonstration of the measuring of carps’ bearings. Credit: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051100

Carp stored in large tubs at Czech Christmas markets align themselves in the north-south direction, suggesting they possess a previously unknown capacity to perceive geomagnetic fields, according to a new study published December 5 in the open access journal PLOS ONE, led Hynek Burda from the University of Life Sciences (Prague), Czech Republic and colleagues from other institutions.

The authors photographed and analyzed the positions of fish in the traditional Czech Christmas market, where carp are stored live in large tubs prior to being sold for the holiday feast.

Their study included over 14,000 fish in 25 markets, and the majority of these fish were found to align themselves along the north-south axis. The fish were accustomed to human onlookers, and street lights and other potential disturbances seemed to have no effect on the orientation of the fish.

In the absence of other common for orientation like light, sound or the flow of water, the authors suggest that the fish most likely align themselves to geomagnetic cues.

Explore further: Lemurs match scent of a friend to sound of her voice

More information: Hart V, Kusˇta T, Neˇmec P, Bla´hova´ V, Jezˇek M, et al. (2012) Magnetic Alignment in Carps: Evidence from the Czech Christmas Fish Market. PLoS ONE 7(12):e51100. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051100

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User comments : 6

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C_elegans
5 / 5 (1) Dec 05, 2012
Couldn't they have tested their hypothesis by artificially manipulating magnetic fields around carp storage locations?
ValeriaT
not rated yet Dec 05, 2012
Czech republic is world-wide power in research of orientation of animals by magnetic fields...;-) You're magnetic too, you just aren't willing to admit it...
Husky
not rated yet Dec 05, 2012
i will bring a huge magnet to the fish market and have some fun
ValeriaT
not rated yet Dec 05, 2012
BTW The DOI link doesn't work for me, the article source is here..
Intensero
not rated yet Dec 05, 2012
Hasn't this already been proven? I know that I saw a documentary with them proving this same thing with hammer head sharks.
ValeriaT
1 / 5 (4) Dec 05, 2012
Of course yes, but another scientists do need to keep their jobs too. So now we should check all fishes one after another, until we will be completely sure..

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