Swimming and body orientation of Notolepis rissoi in relation to lateral line and visual function Academic Article uri icon


  • When observed from a submersible, the mesopelagic paralepidid Notolepis rissoi (Pisces: Paralepididae) will hover head up with the body at about 45°. The fish's swimming motion is restricted to the extreme caudal region with most of the body rigid. The trunk lateral-line canal ends at about the position that caudal motion becomes noticeable and there is a great decrease in neuromast size near the posterior end of the canal. The size of the neuromasts is also inversely related to the percentage of red muscle at the same body level. The eyes have an aphakic space oriented dorso-anteriorly at about 45° to the body axis so that during hovering the aphakic space is oriented vertically. Retinal anatomy indicates that photoreceptors opposite the aphakic space appear to enhance resolution at the cost of sensitivity, whilst lateral photoreceptors enhance sensitivity at the expense of resolution. We interpret the swimming attitude and mechanics as adaptations to minimize self-induced oscillations which would be deleterious to visual and lateral-line function.

publication date

  • November 1992