Lowenstein, Otto E. Department of Zoology, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom.
Last reviewed:June 2020
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A mechanism of orientation by means of which an animal moves in a direction related to a source of stimulation. There exists a widely accepted terminology in which the nature of the stimulus is indicated by a prefix such as phototaxis, chemotaxis, geotaxis (gravity), thigmotaxis (contact), rheotaxis (water current), and anemotaxis (air current). The directions toward or away from the stimulus are expressed as positive or negative, respectively. Finally, the sensory and locomotory mechanisms by means of which the orientation is achieved are denoted by a second type of prefix forming a compound noun with taxis. Positive phototropotaxis thus describes a mechanism by means of which an animal carries out a directed movement toward a source of light along a path which permits the animal's paired eyes to receive equal intensities of light throughout the movement. The following are examples of various types of taxes.
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