June 7, 2011
An oyster toadfish (Opsanus tau), like those that are part of the Neurolab payload on Space Shuttle Mission STS-90, is shown in its holding tank in the Space Station Processing Facility. Each fish is between eight and 14 inches long. Toadfish live in an estuarine environment and are native to areas along the Northeast coast of the United States. Since they are bottom dwellers that live in cracks and crevices, a tube is provided in its tank to give it a place to retreat and hide. Investigations during the Neurolab mission will focus on the effects of microgravity on the nervous system. This fish is an excellent model for looking at vestibular function because the architecture of its inner and middle ear are similar to those of mammals with respect to the vestibular apparatus.