Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 194, Issue 10, pp 915–919

Effect of conductivity changes on the stability of electric signal waveforms in dwarf stonebashers (Mormyridae; Pollimyrus castelnaui, P. marianne)

Short Communication

DOI: 10.1007/s00359-008-0360-0

Cite this article as:
Baier, B. J Comp Physiol A (2008) 194: 915. doi:10.1007/s00359-008-0360-0


The dwarf stonebasher sibling species Pollimyrus castelnaui and P. marianne use differences in the electric organ discharges (EODs) for species recognition. As EOD waveforms are affected by water conductivity changes, the reliability of species recognition might be impeded due to natural variability in the environment. EODs of P. castelnaui (N = 8) and P. marianne (N = 8) under high (250 μS/cm) and low (25 μS/cm) conductivity were recorded and compared. Local peaks of the EODs of both species were significantly and predictably modified due to the conductivity change but species-specific differences were always recognizable. The duration of the EODs was not influenced by the conductivity change. Temperature alterations modified the duration in a linear relationship, allowing the determination of Q10 values (1.6 for P. castelnaui’s and 1.7 for P. marianne’s EODs). As the species-specific differences are not masked by conductivity effects, EOD discrimination seems to be a reliable species recognition mechanism under natural circumstances.


Electric organ dischargeWater conductivityQ10 valueSpecies recognitionWeakly electric fish

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Zoological Institute of the University of RegensburgRegensburgGermany
  2. 2.Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms Universität Bonn, Institut Für ZoologieBonnGermany