Morphological malleability of the lateral line allows for surface fish (Astyanax mexicanus) adaptation to cave environments

Marina Yoffe, Kush Patel, Eric Palia, Samuel Kolawole, Amy Streets, Gal Haspel, Daphne Soares

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The lateral line is the primary modality fish use to create a hydrodynamic image of their environment. These images contribute to a variety of behaviors, from rheotaxis to escape responses. Here we discern the contributions of visual and lateral line modalities in hunting behavior of larvae that have developed under different photic conditions. In particular, cave animals have a hypertrophied sense of mechanosensation, and we studied the common animal model cavefish Astyanax mexicanus and its closest related surface relative. We raised larvae in a diurnal light-dark regimen and in complete darkness. We then examined the distribution of neuromasts in their lateral lines, and their hunting performance in light and dark conditions, with and without the contribution of the lateral line. We report that all larva depend on the lateral line for success in hunting and that surface fish raised in the dark have a greater dependency on the lateral line.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-517
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


  • adaptation
  • caves
  • evolution
  • fish
  • lateral line
  • preadaptation


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