Endogenous patterns of photomechanical movements in teleosts and their relation to activity rhythms

Cell Tissue Res. 1982;226(1):133-44. doi: 10.1007/BF00217088.


The retinal rods, cones and epithelial pigment of most lower vertebrates display rhythmic photomechanical (retinomotor) migrations in response to changes in ambient lighting conditions. This study examines the extent of these migrations in the absence of the daily changes in illumination (constant darkness and constant light) in three species of teleosts. Salmo trutta, a crepuscularly active fish, showed two peaks of light adaptation occurring around dawn and dusk when kept in constant darkness. Tinca tinca, a nocturnal species, also showed an endogenous rhythm during extended periods of darkness, but, unlike Salmo trutta, it was light-adapted throughout what would normally have been "day". At the maximal extent of migration under conditions of continual darkness, the pigment migrated 59% as much as it did during a normal light/dark cycle. Nannacara anomala, a tropical diurnally active species, showed a similar but more pronounced rhythm than Tinca tinca for all 3 days of experimental darkness, behaving essentially identically to fish exposed to a light/dark cycle. Nannacara anomala also displayed a weak rhythm when kept in constant light. It is concluded from these and previous results that the pattern of endogenous photomechanical movement depends both on the activity pattern of a species and on the constancy of the lighting conditions to which it has been exposed during its lifetime.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Environment, Controlled
  • Fishes / physiology*
  • Light
  • Movement
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Trout / physiology