Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 168, Issue 1, pp 141–150 | Cite as

Sensory evoked potentials in unanesthetized unrestrained cuttlefish: a new preparation for brain physiology in cephalopods

  • Theodore H. Bullock
  • Bernd U. Budelmann


Up to five microelectrodes inserted through short hypodermic needles in the cranial cartilage of Sepia officinalis recorded potentials while the cuttlefish moved freely in a small enclosure. Compound field potentials and unit spikes were seen during ongoing, spontaneous activity and after sensory stimulation.

Ongoing activity resembles that reported for octopus, with maximum power usually below 20 Hz. Amplitude varies greatly but has not been seen to shut off or turn on abruptly and globally as in octopus.

Evoked potentials, focally large after flashes of light consist of several waves; the first is largest, positive and peaks at ca. 35 ms (called P35), followed by ca. P75, P95, N110 and smaller waves or oscillations lasting more than 0.5 s. The Upper Following Frequency (highest flashing rate the potentials can follow 1:1), without averaging, is >15 flashes/s (20–22 °C); at 20/s the 1∶1 following lasts for 1 or 2 s. The Lower Fusion Frequency of averaged responses is < 30/s. Gentle tapping of the tank wall evokes local, brief, fast potentials. No responses have been found to loud air-borne clicks and tone bursts with principal energy at 300 Hz or to electric fields in the bath at 50–100 μV/cm.

In a few loci relatively large slow Omitted Stimulus Potentials have been seen following the end of a train of flashes at more than 5/s; these are by definition event related potentials and a special, central form of OFF response.

Key words

Event related potentials Visual evoked potentials Sepia 



evoked potential


interstimulus interval


omitted stimulus potential


visual evoked potential


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Theodore H. Bullock
    • 1
  • Bernd U. Budelmann
    • 2
  1. 1.Neurobiology Unit, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and Department of NeurosciencesSchool of Medicine, University of CaliforniaSan Diego, La JollaUSA
  2. 2.Marine Biomedical Institute, University of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA

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