Active Electrolocation and Spatial Learning

  • Sarah Nicola Jung
  • Jacob EngelmannEmail author
Part of the Springer Handbook of Auditory Research book series (SHAR, volume 70)


This chapter presents an overview of the emerging research on spatial learning in weakly electric fish. In the first part, mechanisms by which active electrolocation can provide spatial information are summarized. This includes research on the intricate dynamics of sensorimotor behaviors that enable weakly electric fish to actively generate electrosensory flow. Starting from a summary of spatial learning mechanisms in nonelectric teleost fish, behavioral studies that have begun to investigate spatial learning in weakly electric fish are presented. The behavioral data are then connected with what is known about the neuronal substrate of spatial cognition in teleost fish in general, with a particular focus on the involvement of the dorsal telencephalon. Based on this, the final section summarizes the current data on the telencephalic networks of weakly electric fish. Comparative studies have led to partially novel and hypothetical views that posit similarities between forebrain networks of weakly electric fish and mammalian cortical and thalamocortical networks. Although being a newly emerging line of research, the sensory specialties of the active sensory system of weakly electric fish clearly offer a chance to widen research on the spatial cognition of teleosts by providing novel insights through comparative approaches.


Active electrolocation Allocentric Egocentric Electric image Electrosensory flow Navigation Path integration Pattern completion Pattern separation Spatial learning Telencephalic networks 


Compliance with Ethics Requirements

Sarah Nicola Jung declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Jacob Engelmann declares that he has no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.AG Active Sensing, University of Bielefeld, UHG W3-268BielefeldGermany
  2. 2.AG Active Sensing and Center of Excellence Cognitive Interaction TechnologyUniversity of Bielefeld, UHG W3-268BielefeldGermany

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