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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2014 Feb;24(1):13-21. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2013.08.013. Epub 2013 Sep 4.

Neural maps in the electrosensory system of weakly electric fish.

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Department of Biology, McGill University, 1205 Ave. Docteur Penfield, Montreal, Quebec H3A 1B1, Canada. Electronic address:
Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Ottawa, 451 Smyth Road, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 8M5, Canada.


The active electrosense of weakly electric fish is evolutionarily and developmentally related to passive electrosensation and the lateral line system. It shows the most highly differentiated topographic maps of the receptor array of all these senses. It is organized into three maps in the hindbrain that are, in turn, composed of columns, each consisting of six pyramidal cell classes. The cells in each column have different spatiotemporal processing properties yielding a total of 18 topographic representations of the body surface. The differential filtering by the hindbrain maps is used by superimposed maps in the multi-layered midbrain electrosensory region to extract specific stimulus features related to communication and foraging. At levels beyond the midbrain, topographic mapping of the body surface appears to be lost.

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