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J Comp Physiol A. 1999 Jun;184(6):609-30.

Electric organ discharges of the gymnotiform fishes: III. Brachyhypopomus.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, Miami 33199, USA.


We measured and mapped the electric fields produced by three species of neotropical electric fish of the genus Brachyhypopomus (Gymnotiformes, Rham phichthyoidea, Hypopomidae), formerly Hypopomus. These species produce biphasic pulsed discharges from myogenic electric organs. Spatio-temporal false-color maps of the electric organ discharges measured on the skin show that the electric field is not a simple dipole in Brachyhypopomus. Instead, the dipole center moves rostro-caudally during the 1st phase (P1) of the electric organ discharge, and is stationary during the 2nd phase (P2). Except at the head and tip of tail, electric field lines rotate in the lateral and dorso-ventral planes. Rostrocaudal differences in field amplitude, field lines, and spatial stability suggest that different parts of the electric organ have undergone selection for different functions; the rostral portions seem specialized for electrosensory processing, whereas the caudal portions show adaptations for d.c. signal balancing and mate attraction as well. Computer animations of the electric field images described in this paper are available on web sites http:/(/) or http:/(/) fish.html.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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