Marine teleost locates live prey through pH sensing

We report that the Japanese sea catfish Plotosus japonicus senses local pH-associated increases in H+/CO2 equating to a decrease of ≤0.1 pH unit in ambient seawater. We demonstrated that these sensors, located on the external body of the fish, detect undamaged cryptic respiring prey, such as polychaete worms. Sensitivity is maximal at the natural pH of seawater (pH 8.1 to 8.2) and decreases dramatically in seawater with a pH <8.0.

Caprio J., Shimohara M., Marui T., Harada S. & Kiyohara S., 2014. Marine teleost locates live prey through pH sensing. Science 344:1154-1156. Article (subscription required).

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