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One of the small calcareous particles found in the inner ear of many vertebrates, especially fishes, which are involved in determining body orientation and sometimes in perceiving sound.

o′to·lith′ic adj.


1. (Zoology) any of the granules of calcium carbonate in the inner ear of vertebrates. Movement of otoliths, caused by a change in position of the animal, stimulates sensory hair cells, which convey the information to the brain
2. (Zoology) another name for statolith1
ˌotoˈlithic adj


(ˈoʊt l ɪθ)

1. a calcareous concretion in the inner ear of lower vertebrates.


a stonelike concretion in the inner ear of some vertebrates, as the whale.
See also: Stones
References in periodicals archive ?
In Brazil there are only otolith catalogs of marine fish, such the work of Correa and Vianna that in 1992/93 described the otoliths of the family Scianidae from the coast of Parana.
The otolith collection, dating to the 1960s, had been sitting in an old Sand Point hangar belonging to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NO).
Secondly, otoliths are also used, mainly the saggita which is the larger otolith and easier to extract.
If readers disagreed on age of an otolith, the otolith was later re-read by both observers together.
Previous otolith studies have focused on age and growth; however, analyses have increasingly developed beyond the otoliths' chronological capabilities to explore microstructure and chemistry (Begg et al.
The fishs movements are recorded in the otolith like tree rings, with chemicals being deposited every day the fish is alive.
Life history, migration processes and the population structure of various species of fishes have been described through otolith microchemistry in recent decades (Bradbury et al.
In recent years, otolith chemistry has also been used to identify groups successfully on the basis of the characterization of environmental conditions at birth and during early life history stages (Campana et al.
The otolith is a record of the growth of each individual," Llopiz said.
Effects of meal size on otolith recovery from fecal samples of gray and harbor seals.