Short-range orientation in fish: How fish map space

V. A. Braithwaite, T. Burt De Perera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


One way in which fish can move around efficiently is to learn and remember a spatial map of their environment. This can be a relatively simple process where, for example, sequences of landmarks are learned. However, more complex spatial representations can be generated by integrating multiple pieces of information. In this review, we consider what types of information fish use to generate a spatial map; for instance, beacons (single landmarks) that signal a specific location, or learned geometric relationships between multiple landmarks that allow fish to guide their movements. Owing to the diversity of fish species and the broad range of environments that they inhabit, there is considerable diversity in the maps that they develop and the sensory systems that they use to detect spatial information. This chapter uses a series of examples to investigate the types of spatial information that fish encode, for instance, how they map three-dimensional space, how they make use of different sensory modalities, and where this information might be processed. We also highlight the versatility of short-range orientation in fish, and discuss a number of similarities between the mapping mechanisms used by fish and terrestrial vertebrates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-47
Number of pages11
JournalMarine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science


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