One Eye But No Vision: Cave Fish With Induced Eyes Do Not Respond to Light

Aldemaro Romero, Steven M. Green, Andrea Romero, Megan M. Lelonek, Katy C. Stropnicky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


One of the most intriguing questions in evolutionary biology is the degree to which behavior is a necessary consequence of morphology. We explore this issue by examining phototactic behavior in epigean (eyed surface-dwelling) and troglomorphic (blind cave) forms of the teleost Astyanax fasciatus whose eyes were modified during embryogenesis by removing one or both lens vesicles from the epigean form or by transplanting the lens vesicle from an epigean fish into the optic cup of a blind cave form. Lens removal results in eye degeneration and blindness in adult epigean fish, whereas lens transplantation stimulates growth of the eye, inducing the development of optic tissues in the normally eyeless adult cave fish. Photoresponsiveness was examined by placing fish in an aquarium with one half illuminated and the other half dark and scoring their presence in the illuminated or dark half. Both the eyeless epigean fish and cave fish with induced eyes are indifferent to the illumination whereas the surface forms are scotophilic, suggesting that optic development and phototactic behavior are decoupled.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-79
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 15 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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