In a space experiment, the adaptation of goldfish behavior during flight and readaptation after landing were investigated. Six goldfish (1 normal, 1 with otoliths removed on both sides, 4 with otoliths removed on one side) were flown in a fish package (F⁄P) of Aquatic Animal Experiment Unit (AAEU). The dorsal light responses (DLRs) of fish with otoliths removed were recorded after operation until launch and after landing. The behaviors of the fish were recorded with a video camera on Mission Elapsed Time (MET) Day-00, 02, 05, 08, 12. On MET Day-00, two fish with otoliths removed on one side showed flexion of body toward the operated side. These fish also showed rolling behavior toward the operated side. However, the body flexion disappeared on MET Day-05 or MET Day-08. No rolling behaviors were observed after that time. Five fish showed backward looping behaviors during the mission. Although the frequency of looping episodes decreased after MET Day-08, five fish still showed looping behavior on MET Day-12, that was the last day of video recording on orbit. In microgravity, visual system of fish did not seem to provide sufficient cues to prevent them from looping or rolling. After landing, no looping and rolling behavior was observed. However, the tilt angle of the DLR increased in the fish with otolith removed 5 month before launch but not in normal fish and those with otoliths removed 2 weeks before launch. These results suggest that the behavioral dysfunction and the adaptational process in space are dependent on vestibular inputs.
1997 by Japanese Society for Biological Sciences in Space