Graff, Christian and Kramer, Bernd
Trained Weakly-electric Fishes Pollimyrus isidori and Gnathonemus petersii (Mormyridae, Teleostei)
Discriminate between Waveforms of Electric Pulse Discharges. Ethology 90, pp. 279-292.
Fish of the family Mormyridae emit weak, pulse-like electric organ discharges (EODs). The discharge rhythm is variable, but the waveform of the EOD is constant for each fish, with species- and individual characteristics. The ability of Pollimyrus isidori and Gnathonemuspetersii (Mormyridae) to discriminate between different EOD waveforms was tested using a differential conditioning procedure. Fish were first trained to respond to a reference signal in swimming to a dish to receive a bloodworm (food reward). The reference signal consisted of a 10-Hz train of the digitally recorded EOD of a conspecific. Second, an alternative signal (10-Hz train of a different EOD, either from another species, or from a conspecific of the other sex) was associated with air bubbles as punishment. The two signals were played at successive trials in random order. On each trial the latency was measured between the onset of the signal and the response. 7 out of the 8 P. isidori tested and both of the two G. petersii tested associated the reference EOD with food. Among these, five P, isidori and two G. petersii responded differentially (p < 0.01) to EODs of different species. P. isidori similarly discriminated between conspecific EODs of different sexes. The quantity of different alternative EODs which could be tested was limited when fish eventually habituated to the punishment.
Even when the amplitude of the EODs was randomly changed at each trial, two out of two G. petersii differentiated between EODs of the two species, and three out of three P. isidori tested differentiated between EODs within their own species.
Response latencies to the rewarded signal during the basic training and during discrimination (when it had to be distinguished from the S-) were similar. G. petersii showed differential responses for S+ and S- also in the rhythm of discharge exhibited during playback, after five EOD pulses for one fish, and after a single pulse for the other. Mormyrids may therefore distinguish between conspecifics and members of other species, and even between individual conspecifics, by their EOD waveform.
|Institutions:||Biology, Preclinical Medicine > Institut für Zoologie > Verhaltensbiologie und Verhaltensphysiologie (Prof. Dr. Bernd Kramer)|
|Subjects:||500 Science > 590 Zoological sciences|
|Refereed:||Yes, this version has been refereed|
|Created at the University of Regensburg:||Unknown|
|Deposited On:||05 Jun 2008 14:01|
|Last Modified:||09 Jan 2013 08:25|