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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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


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
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈoʊt l ɪθ)

1. a calcareous concretion in the inner ear of lower vertebrates.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


a stonelike concretion in the inner ear of some vertebrates, as the whale.
See also: Stones
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Otolith Annulus Formation and Growth of Two Redhorse Suckers (Moxostoma: Catastomidae).
Using otolith weight to predict the age of different stocks of Sperata aor (Siluriformes: Bagridae) from the River Ganga
Otolith chemistry, including both elemental and isotopic composition, and otolith structure may help to differentiate these life-history patterns as well as identify migrations and habitat use during early life histories.
Stock identification, mainly of commercial fishes, has usually been addressed on the analysis of body shape (Silva, 2003; De La Cruz-Aguero & Garcia-Rodriguez, 2004; Tzeng, 2004; Ibanez-Aguirre et al., 2006; Garcia-Rodriguez et al., 2011; Vergara-Solana et al., 2013) and of sagitta otolith shape (Campana & Casselman, 1993; DeVries et al., 2002; Felix-Uraga et al., 2005; Stransky et al., 2008; Ramirez-Perez et al., 2010), or on the analysis of the shape of both structures (Vergara-Solana et al., 2013).
"The otolith is a record of the growth of each individual," Llopiz said.
indica is a fairly reliable distinguishing character that makes recognition in mixed catches easy, but identification should be based on the vertebrae, swim bladder and otolith where possible.
After field collection, the otolith pairs were first cleaned in an ultrasonic water bath for about 15 min, and then transferred to a tap-water filled transparent vessel for age determination under a VanGuard microscope.
Larval duration, size at settlement, and growth rates were estimated from the otoliths. Previous work has validated daily otolith increment deposition in the Tidewater Goby (Hellmair 2010), and increments were assumed to be daily in the Arrow Goby.