Lateral line reception in still- and running water
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The lateral line of fish is composed of neuromasts used to detect water motions. Neuromasts occur as superficial neuromasts on the skin and as canal neuromasts in subepidermal canals. Fibres of the lateral line nerves innervate both. There have been extensive studies on the responses of lateral line nerve fibres to dipole stimuli applied in still water. However, despite the fact that many fish live in rivers and/or swim constantly, responses of lateral line nerve fibres to dipole stimuli presented in running water have never been recorded. We investigated how the peripheral lateral line of still water fish (Carassius auratus) and riverine fish (Oncorhynchus mykiss) responds to minute sinusoidal water motions while exposed to unidirectional water flow. Both goldfish and trout have two types of posterior lateral line nerve fibres: Type I fibres, which most likely innervate superficial neuromasts, were stimulated by running water (10 cm s–1). The responses of type I fibres to water motions generated by a vibrating sphere were masked if the fish was exposed to running water. Type II fibres, which most likely innervate canal neuromasts, were not stimulated by running water. Consequently, responses of type II fibres to a vibrating sphere were not masked under flow conditions.
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