Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Virginia Institute of Marine Science


S. Laurie Sanderson

Committee Member

John E. Olney


The sensory capabilities of settlement-stage fishes are unknown but this information is necessary to studies of larval settlement and recruitment. The morphology of the cephalic lateral line, eye and external olfactory organ of thirteen species of settlement-stage Caribbean labroids was described. Scanning electron images of the cephalic lateral line neuromasts, lateral line canals and olfactory epithelia and histological studies of the retinae and morphological measurements of visual acuity were used to assess the level of sensory development attained at settlement. The sensory capabilities of settlement-stage fishes are discussed in relation to the possible cues settlement-stage fishes may be using to locate a reef and microhabitat within the reef system. In addition sensory development is discussed in relation to interspecific variation in settlement behavior, settlement-site selection, possible evolutionary life history strategies and morphological constraints on sensory development and settlement. development and settlement.



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