Lateral line mediated rheotaxis in the Antarctic fish Pagothenia borchgrevinki
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The sensory basis of rheotaxis was investigated in Pagothenia borchgrevinki utilising a laminar flow chamber. The threshold for P. borchgrevinki to exhibit an unconditioned rheotactic response lay between 1 and 2 cm s−1. Disabling the entire lateral line or the superficial neuromast receptors increased the rheotactic threshold to greater than 5 cm s−1. Pharmacological blocking of the lateral line canal system alone had no effect. This study provides a direct demonstration that the superficial lateral line system is involved in mediating rheotaxis. These results, coupled with previous work on Antarctic fishes, suggest a division of labour exists between the two submodalities of the lateral line system. Superficial neuromasts are more responsive to unmodulated flows (DC) and mediate behaviour such as rheotaxis, whereas canal neuromasts detect acceleration components of modulated flows (AC) and are more concerned with behaviour such as feeding.
KeywordsLaminar Flow Lateral Line Flow Chamber Line System Canal System
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