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A calcareous concretion on the end of a sensory hair cell in the vertebrate ear and in some invertebrates.



a solid formation on the surface of the mechanoreceptor cells in the organs of equilibrium of some invertebrates and all vertebrates. Otoliths of different animals vary in origin, size, and structure: they can be secreted by cells or introduced from outside, for example, grains of sand serve as otoliths in crayfish. Mammalian otoliths are usually crystals of calcite (CaCO3) up to 10 microns (μ.) long and 1–3 μ wide.

As otoliths shift in response to acceleration and changes in body position, they mechanically irritate the underlying ciliated receptor cells, which then send appropriate signals to the brain.

The action of otoliths has been demonstrated in experiments with crayfish. The grains of sand that serve as the crayfish’s otoliths were replaced during molting by iron filings, and a magnet was placed above the animal to attract the filings. The crayfish reversed its sense of orientation, turned over, and swam with its abdomen up.


References in periodicals archive ?
Gillanders 2005 Alternative life-history patterns of estuarine fish: barium in otoliths elucidates freshwater residency.
Their otoliths can no longer tell which way is up, which can make the astronauts feel queasy at the beginning of a mission until their bodies adapt.
otoliths, vertebrae, and pectoral spines) between readers and between pairs of ageing structures and (2) to quantify potential biases of age estimates between readers and between pairs of ageing structures in order to select the most suitable bony structure for age estimation of C.
In the intermediate sector, we analyzed only otoliths in the early wet period, with the record of the lowest mean value for this ratio (4.
13]C carbonate from otoliths of juvenile fish to test the hypothesis that there is a single stock of tainha within the area where 95% of the commercial catch of this species occurs in southern Brazil.
Therefore, Asian carp pharyngeal teeth or otoliths occurred in four (2.
sihama may be a pair of sister species based on our comparison between these two in morphology, swim bladder, otoliths and COI sequence.
A chemical element called strontium accumulates on the otoliths (ear bones) during the lifetime of the fish, similar to the way rings form in a tree.
Larval traits were determined from daily bands and settlement marks in lapillar otoliths of recently settled gobies.
Otoliths are paired structures composed of organic matter and calcium carbonate crystals, especially in the form of aragonite.