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Open AccessArticle

Diversity of Olfactory Responses and Skills in Astyanax Mexicanus Cavefish Populations Inhabiting different Caves

1
Paris-Saclay Institute of Neuroscience, CNRS and University Paris-Saclay, 91190 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
2
Human Genetics and Cognitive Functions, Institut Pasteur, UMR3571 CNRS, Université de Paris, 75015 Paris, France
3
Évolution, Génomes, Comportement et Écologie, IRD, CNRS and Université Paris-Saclay, 91190 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
4
INRAE, Laboratoire de Physiologie et Génomique des Poissons, 35000 Rennes, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Equal contribution to this work.
Diversity 2020, 12(10), 395; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12100395
Received: 15 September 2020 / Revised: 7 October 2020 / Accepted: 8 October 2020 / Published: 13 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cave Communities: From the Surface Border to the Deep Darkness)
Animals in many phyla are adapted to and thrive in the constant darkness of subterranean environments. To do so, cave animals have presumably evolved mechano- and chemosensory compensations to the loss of vision, as is the case for the blind characiform cavefish, Astyanax mexicanus. Here, we systematically assessed the olfactory capacities of cavefish and surface fish of this species in the lab as well as in the wild, in five different caves in northeastern Mexico, using an olfactory setup specially developed to test and record olfactory responses during fieldwork. Overall cavefish showed lower (i.e., better) olfactory detection thresholds than surface fish. However, wild adult cavefish from the Pachón, Sabinos, Tinaja, Chica and Subterráneo caves showed highly variable responses to the three different odorant molecules they were exposed to. Pachón and Subterráneo cavefish showed the highest olfactory capacities, and Chica cavefish showed no response to the odors presented. We discuss these data with regard to the environmental conditions in which these different cavefish populations live. Our experiments in natural settings document the diversity of cave environments inhabited by a single species of cavefish, A. mexicanus, and highlight the complexity of the plastic and genetic mechanisms that underlie cave adaptation. View Full-Text
Keywords: fieldwork; wild fish; comparative biology; behavior; troglomorphism; olfactory test; infrared movies; amino acids; chondroitin; plasticity fieldwork; wild fish; comparative biology; behavior; troglomorphism; olfactory test; infrared movies; amino acids; chondroitin; plasticity
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MDPI and ACS Style

Blin, M.; Fumey, J.; Lejeune, C.; Policarpo, M.; Leclercq, J.; Père, S.; Torres-Paz, J.; Pierre, C.; Imarazene, B.; Rétaux, S. Diversity of Olfactory Responses and Skills in Astyanax Mexicanus Cavefish Populations Inhabiting different Caves. Diversity 2020, 12, 395.

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