From Electrogenesis to Electroreception: An Overview

  • Günther K. H. Zupanc
  • Theodore H. Bullock
Part of the Springer Handbook of Auditory Research book series (SHAR, volume 21)


Electric Organ Electric Organ Discharge Interpulse Interval Behav Ecol Pacemaker Nucleus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alves-Gomes J, Hopkins CD (1997) Molecular insights into the phylogeny of mormyriform fishes and the evolution of their electric organs. Brain Behav Evol 49:324–350.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Baron VD, Pavlov DS (2003) Discovery of specialized electrogenerating activity in two species of Polypterus (Polypteriformes, Osteichthyes). J Ichthyol 43:S259–S261.Google Scholar
  3. Baron VD, Morshnev KS, Olshansky VM, Orlov AA (1994a) Electric organ discharges of two species of African catfish (Synodontis) during social behaviour. Anim Behav 48:1472–1475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baron VD, Orlov AA, Golubtsov AS (1994b) African Clarias catfish elicits long-lasting weak electric pulses. Experientia 50:644–647.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baron VD, Orlov AA, Golubtsov AS (1996) Detection of electric organ discharges in African catfish Auchenoglandis occidentalis (Siluriformes: Bagridae). Dokl Biol Sci 349:377–379.Google Scholar
  6. Bass AH (1986) Electric organs revisited: evolution of a vertebrate communication and orientation organ. In: Bullock TH, Heiligenberg W (eds), Electroreception. New York: John Wiley & Sons, pp. 13–70.Google Scholar
  7. Bass AH, Hopkins CD (1983) Hormonal control of sexual differentiation: changes in electric organ discharge waveform. Science 220:971–974.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Bennett MVL (1971) Electric organs. In: Hoar WS, Randall DJ (eds), Fish Physiology, Vol. 5: Sensory Systems and Electric Organs. New York: Academic Press, pp. 347–491.Google Scholar
  9. Bensouilah M, Schugardt C, Roesler R, Kirschbaum F, Denizot J-P (2002) Larval electroreceptors in the epidermis of mormyrid fish: I. Tuberous organs of type A and B. J Comp Neurol 447:309–322.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bodznick D, Boord RL (1986) Electroreception in chondrichthyes: central anatomy and physiology. In: Bullock TH, Heiligenberg W (eds), Electroreception. New York: John Wiley & Sons, pp. 225–256.Google Scholar
  11. Boudinot M (1970) The effect of decreasing and increasing temperature on the frequency of the electric organ discharge in Eigenmannia sp. Comp Biochem Physiol 37:601–603.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bullock TH (1969) Species differences in effect of electroreceptor input on electric organ pacemakers and other aspects of behavior in electric fish. Brain Behav Evol 2:85–118.Google Scholar
  13. Bullock TH (1982) Electroreception. Annu Rev Neurosci 5:121–170.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bullock TH, Heiligenberg W (eds) (1986) Electroreception. New York: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  15. Bullock TH, Hagiwara S, Kusano K, Negishi K (1961) Evidence for a category of electroreceptors in the lateral line of gymnotid fishes. Science 134:1426–1427.Google Scholar
  16. Bullock TH, Behrend K, Heiligenberg W (1975) Comparison of the jamming avoidance responses in gymnotoid and gymnarchid electric fish: a case of convergent evolution of behavior and its sensory basis. J Comp Physiol A 103:97–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Changeux J-P (1993) Chemical signaling in the brain. Sci Am November: 58–62.Google Scholar
  18. Coates CW, Altamirano M, Grundfest H (1954) Activity in electrogenic organs of knife-fishes. Science 120:845–846.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Denizot J-P, Kirschbaum F, Westby GWM, Tsuji S (1978) The larval electric organ of the weakly electric fish Pollimyrus (Marcusenius) isidori (Mormyridae, Teleostei). J Neurocytol 7:165–181.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Denizot J-P, Kirschbaum F, Westby GWM, Tsuji S (1982) On the development of the adult electric organ in the mormyrid fish Pollimyrus isidori (with special focus on the innervation). J Neurocytol 11:913–934.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dunlap KD, Thomas P, Zakon HH (1998) Diversity of sexual dimorphism in electrocommunication signals and its androgen regulation in a genus of electric fish, Apteronotus. J Comp Physiol A 183:77–86.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Dye J (1987) Dynamics and stimulus-dependence of pacemaker control during behavioral modulations in the weakly electric fish, Apteronotus. J Comp Physiol A 161: 175–185.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Dye JC, Meyer JH (1986) Central control of the electric organ discharge in weakly electric fish. In: Bullock TH, Heiligenberg W (eds), Electroreception. New York: John Wiley & Sons, pp. 71–102.Google Scholar
  24. Enger PS, Szabo T (1968) Effect of temperature on the discharge rates of the electric organ of some gymnotids. Comp Biochem Physiol 27:625–627.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Engler G, Zupanc GKH (2001) Differential production of chirping behavior evoked by electrical stimulation of the weakly electric fish, Apteronotus leptorhynchus. J Comp Physiol A 187:747–756.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Engler G, Fogarty CM, Banks JR, Zupanc GKH (2000) Spontaneous modulations of the electric organ discharge in the weakly electric fish, Apteronotus leptorhynchus: a biophysical and behavioral analysis. J Comp Physiol A 186:645–660.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Feldberg W, Fessard A (1942) The cholinergic nature of the nerves to the electric organ of the torpedo (Torpedo marmorata). J Physiol 101:200–216.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Feldberg W, Fessard A, Nachmansohn D (1939/40) The cholinergic nature of the nervous supply to the electrical organ of the torpedo (Torpedo marmorata). J Physiol 97:3P–5P.Google Scholar
  29. Feng AS (1976) The effect of temperature on a social behavior of weakly electric fish Eigenmannia virescens. Comp Biochem Physiol A 55:99–102.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ferrari MB, Zakon HH (1989) The medullary pacemaker nucleus is unnecessary for electroreceptor tuning plasticity in Sternopygus. J Neurosci 9:1354–1361.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Fessard A, Szabo T (1961) Mise en évidence d’un récepteur sensible á l’électricité dans la peau des Mormyres. CR Acad Sci (Paris) 253:1859–1860.Google Scholar
  32. Fritzsch B, Münz H (1986) Electroreception in amphibians. In: Bullock TH, Heiligenberg W (eds), Electroreception. New York: John Wiley & Sons, pp. 483–496.Google Scholar
  33. Hagedorn M, Carr C (1985) Single electrocytes produce a sexually dimorphic signal in South American electric fish, Hypopomus occidentalis (Gymnotiformes, Hypopomidae). J Comp Physiol A 156:511–523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hagedorn M, Heiligenberg W (1985) Court and spark: electric signals in the courtship and mating of gymnotoid fish. Anim Behav 33:254–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hagedorn M, Womble M, Finger TE (1990) Synodontid catfish: a new group of weakly electric fish. Behavior and anatomy. Brain Behav Evol 35:268–277.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Heiligenberg W (1973) Electrolocation of objects in the electric fish Eigenmannia (Rhamphichthyidae, Gymnotoidei). J Comp Physiol 87:137–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Heiligenberg W (1991) Neural Nets in Electric Fish. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  38. Heiligenberg W, Keller CH, Metzner W, Kawasaki M (1991) Structure and function of neurons in the complex of the nucleus electrosensorius of the gymnotiform fish Eigenmannia: detection and processing of electric signals in social communication. J Comp Physiol A 169:151–164.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Hopkins CD (1972) Sex differences in electric signaling in an electric fish. Science 176: 1035–1037.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Hopkins CD (1976) Stimulus filtering and electroreception: tuberous electroreceptors in three species of gymnotoid fish. J Comp Physiol A 111:171–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Hopkins CD (1980) Evolution of electric communication channels of mormyrids. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 7:1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Hopkins CD (1981) On the diversity of electric signals in a community of mormyrid electric fish in West Africa. Am Zool 21:211–222.Google Scholar
  43. Hopkins CD (1986) Behavior of Mormyridae. In: Bullock TH, Heiligenberg W (eds), Electroreception. New York: John Wiley & Sons, pp. 527–576.Google Scholar
  44. Hopkins CD, Bass AH (1981) Temporal coding of species recognition signals in an electric fish. Science 212:85–87.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Hopkins CD, Heiligenberg WF (1978) Evolutionary designs for electric signals and electoreceptors in gymnotoid fishes of Surinam. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 3:113–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Jørgensen JM (1982) Fine structure of the ampullary organs of the bichir Polypterus senegalus Cuvier, 1829 (Pisces: Brachiopterygii) with some notes on the phylogenetic development of electroreceptors. Acta Zool (Stockholm) 63:211–217.Google Scholar
  47. Kalmijn AJ (1974) The detection of electric fields from inanimate and animate sources other than electric organs. In: Fessard A (ed), Handbook of Sensory Physiology, Vol. III/3: Electroreceptors and Other Specialized Receptors in Lower Vertebrates. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, pp. 147–200.Google Scholar
  48. Kalmijn AJ (1982) Electric and magnetic field detection in elsmobranch fishes. Science 218:916–918.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Keller CH, Zakon HH, Sanchez DY (1986) Evidence for a direct effect of androgens upon electroreceptor tuning. J Comp Physiol A 158:301–310.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Kirschbaum F (1975) Environmental factors control the periodical reproduction of tropical electric fish. Experientia 31:1159–1160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Kirschbaum F (1979) Reproduction of the weakly electric fish Eigenmannia virescens (Rhamphichtyidae, Teleostei) in captivity: I. Control of gonadal recrudescence and regression by environmental factors. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 4:331–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Kleerekoper H, Sibakin K (1956) An investigation of the electrical “spike” potentials produced by the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) in the water surrounding the head region. I. J Fish Res Board Can 13:375–383.Google Scholar
  53. Kleerekoper H, Sibakin K (1957) An investigation of the electrical “spike” potentials produced by the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) in the water surrounding the head region. II. J Fish Res Board Can 14:145–151.Google Scholar
  54. Knudsen EI (1975) Spatial aspects of the electric fields generated by weakly electric fish. J Comp Physiol 99:103–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Kramer B (1979) Electric and motor responses of the weakly electric fish, Gnathonemus petersii (Mormyridae), to play-back of social signals. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 6:67–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Kramer B (1999) Waveform discrimination, phase sensitivity and jamming avoidance in a wave-type electric fish. J Exp Biol 202:1387–1398.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. Kramer B, Kaunzinger I (1991) Electrosensory frequency and intensity discrimination in the wave-type electric fish Eigenmannia. J Exp Biol 161:43–59.Google Scholar
  58. Kramer B, Otto B (1991) Waveform discrimination in the electric fish Eigenmannia: sensitivity for the phase differences between the spectral components of a stimulus wave. J. Exp. Biol. 159:1–22.Google Scholar
  59. Kramer B, Zupanc GKH (1986) Conditioned discrimination of electric waves differing only in form and harmonic content in the electric fish, Eigenmannia. Naturwissenschaften 73:679–680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Kramer B, Kirschbaum F, Markl H (1981) Species specificity of electric organ discharges in a sympatric group of gymnotoid fish from Manaus (Amazonas). In: Szabó T, Czéh G (eds), Advances in Physiological Science, Vol. 31. Sensory Physiology of Aquatic Lower Vertebrates. Budapest: Pergamon Press/Akadémiai Kiadó, pp. 195–219.Google Scholar
  61. Larimer JL, MacDonald JA (1968) Sensory feedback from electroreceptors to electromotor pacemaker centers in gymnotids. Am J Physiol 214:1253–1261.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  62. Lissmann HW (1951) Continuous electrical signals from the tail of a fish, Gymnarchus niloticus Cuv. Nature 167:201–202.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Lissmann HW (1958) On the function and evolution of electric organs in fish. J Exp Biol 35:156–191.Google Scholar
  64. Lissmann HW, Machin KE (1958) The mechanism of object location in Gymnarchus niloticus and similar fish. J Exp Biol 35:451–486.Google Scholar
  65. Lücker H, Kramer B (1981) Development of a sex difference in the preferred latency response in the weakly electric fish, Pollimyrus isidori (Cuvier et Valenciennes) (Mormyridae, Teleostei). Behav Ecol Sociobiol 9:103–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Maler L, Ellis WG (1987) Inter-male aggressive signals in weakly electric fish are modulated by monoamines. Behav Brain Res 25:75–81.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Maler L, Sas E, Johnston S, Ellis W (1991) An atlas of the brain of the electric fish Apteronotus leptorhynchus. J Chem Neuroanat 4:1–38.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Metzner W (1999) Neural circuitry for communication and jamming avoidance in gymnotiform electric fish. J Exp Biol 202:1365–1375.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  69. Metzner W, Heiligenberg W (1991) The coding of signals in the electric communication of the gymnotiform fish Eigenmannia: from electroreceptors to neurons in the torus semicircularis of the midbrain. J Comp Physiol A 169:135–150.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Meyer DL, Heiligenberg W, Bullock TH (1976) The ventral substrate response: a new postural control mechanism in fishes. J Comp Physiol. A 109:59–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Meyer JH (1983) Steroid influences upon the discharge frequencies of a weakly electric fish. J Comp Physiol A 153:29–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Meyer JH, Zakon HH (1982) Androgens alter the tuning of electroreceptors. Science 217:635–637.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  73. Moller P (1995) Electric Fishes: History and Behavior. London: Chapman & Hall.Google Scholar
  74. Murray RW (1960) Electrical sensitivity of the ampullae of Lorenzini. Nature 187:957.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Northcutt RG (1986) Electroreception in nonteleost bony fishes. In: Bullock TH, Heiligenberg W (eds), Electroreception. New York: John Wiley & Sons, pp. 257–285.Google Scholar
  76. Piccolino M, Bresadola M (2002) Drawing a spark from darkness: John Walsh and electric fish. Trends Neurosci 25:51–57.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Roth A (1973) Electroreceptors in Brachiopterygii and Dipnoi. Naturwissenschaften 60: 106.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Scheich H, Langner G, Tidemann C, Coles RB, Guppy A (1986) Electroreception and electrolocation in platypus. Nature 319:401–402.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Sullivan JP, Lavoué S, Hopkins CD (2000) Molecular systematics of the African electric fishes (Mormyroidea: Teleostei) and a model for the evolution of their electric organs. J Exp Biol 203:665–683.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  80. Sullivan JP, Lavoué S, Hopkins CD (2002) Discovery and phylogenetic analysis of a riverine species flock of African electric fishes (Mormyridae: Teleostei). Evolution 56:597–616.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Szabo T (1970) Elektrische Organe und Elektrorezeption bei Fischen. In: Rheinisch-Westfälische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vorträge, N 205. Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, pp. 7–40Google Scholar
  82. von der Emde G (1990) Discrimination of objects through electrolocation in the weakly electric fish, Gnathonemus petersii. J Comp Physiol A 167:413–421.Google Scholar
  83. von der Emde G (1999) Active electrolocation of objects in weakly electric fish. J Exp Biol 202:1205–1215.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  84. von der Emde G, Ringer T (1992) Electrolocation of capacitive objects in four species of pulse-type weakly electric fish: I. Discrimination performance. Ethology 91:326–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. von der Emde G, Schwarz S, Gomez L, Budelli R, Grant K (1998) Electric fish measure distance in the dark. Nature 395:890–894.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Watanabe A, Takeda K (1963) The change of discharge frequency by a.c. stimulus in a weak electric fish. J Exp Biol 40:57–66.Google Scholar
  87. Waxman SG, Anderson MJ (1986) Regeneration of central nervous system structures: Apteronotus spinal cord as a model system. In: Bullock TH, Heiligenberg W (eds), Electroreception. New York: John Wiley & Sons, pp. 183–208.Google Scholar
  88. Whittaker VP (1992) The Cholinergic Neuron and Its Target: The Electromotor Innervation of the Electric Ray Torpedo as a Model. Boston: Birkhüser.Google Scholar
  89. Zakon HH (1986) The electroreceptive periphery. In: Bullock TH, Heiligenberg W (eds), Electroreception. New York: John Wiley & Sons, pp. 103–156.Google Scholar
  90. Zakon HH, Meyer JH (1983) Plasticity of electroreceptor tuning in the weakly electric fish, Sternopygus dariensis. J Comp Physiol A 153:477–487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Zakon HH, Unguez GA (1999) Development and regeneration of the electric organ. J Exp Biol 202:1427–1434.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  92. Zupanc GKH (1999) Neurogenesis, cell death and regeneration in the adult gymnotiform brain. J Exp Biol 202:1435–1446.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  93. Zupanc GKH (2001) Adult neurogenesis and neuronal regeneration in the central nervous system of teleost fish. Brain Behav Evol 58:250–275.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Zupanc GKH (2002) From oscillators to modulators: behavioral and neural control of modulations of the electric organ discharge in the gymnotiform fish, Apteronotus leptorhynchus. J Physiol (Paris) 96:459–472.Google Scholar
  95. Zupanc GKH, Clint SC (2003) Potential role of radial glia in adult neurogenesis of teleost fish. Glia 43:77–86.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Zupanc GKH, Horschke I (1995) Proliferation zones in the brain of adult gymnotiform fish: a quantitative mapping study. J Comp Neurol 353:213–233.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Zupanc GKH, Maler L (1993) Evoked chirping in the weakly electric fish Apteronotus leptorhynchus: a quantitative biophysical analysis. Can J Zool 71:2301–2310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. Zupanc GKH, Maler L (1997) Neuronal control of behavioral plasticity: the prepacemaker nucleus of weakly electric gymnotiform fish. J Comp Physiol A 180:99–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  99. Zupanc GKH, Banks JR, Engler G, Beason RC (2003) Temperature dependence of the electric organ discharge in weakly electric fish. In: Ploger BJ, Yasukawa K (eds), Exploring Animal Behavior in Laboratory and Field: An Hypothesis-Testing Approach to the Development, Causation, Function, and Evolution of Animal Behavior. Amsterdam: Academic Press, pp. 85–94.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Günther K. H. Zupanc
    • 1
  • Theodore H. Bullock
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Engineering and ScienceInternational University BremenBremenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Neurosciences, School of MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaSan Diego, La JollaUSA

Personalised recommendations