There’s no scent like home

Published May 08, 2008

Damselfish and smell: Marine scientists working on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef have uncovered evidence that baby damselfish, only a centimeter long, manage to find the way to their home coral reef across miles of open sea by using their sense of smell! In damsels and other fish, a pair of tiny nostril-like holes, called nares, open to a chamber lined with sensory pads. When water moves across these pads, chemical signals incite the fish to react. In baby damsels, the chemical makeup or “smell” of home (a rich mixture of the proteins and amino acids emitted by corals) encourages them to chose a current that leads to their original reef.
Previous Post

Featured Stories

WeGo at the National Aquarium WeGo: Bringing the Aquarium to Critically Ill Children

A pilot program at the National Aquarium brings the wonder of the world’s aquatic treasures directly to children in local hospitals.

Read the full story

Octopus eye Octopuses: Extraordinary Eyesight

To celebrate World Octopus Day, learn more about the octopus’s remarkable eyesight!

Read the full story

Related Stories

Animal Update: Bicolor Damselfish

Published April 14, 2017

Animal Update: New Additions to Surviving Through Adaptation Exhibit

Published November 11, 2016