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You are here: Home / Associated publications / Belgian Journal of Zoology / Bibliographic References / Electroreception in catfish: Patterns from motion

RC Peters, WJG Loos, F Bretschneider, and AB Baretta (1999)

Electroreception in catfish: Patterns from motion


An electrosensitive catfish, Ictalurus melas, was trained in a two-alternatives forced-choice conditioning paradigm to discriminate between the electric fields of two direct-current (dc) dipoles, spaced 12 cm apart, the dipole axes parallel to the swimming path of the subject. The dipole size could be varied between 1 and 10 cm. The dipole current was about 5 mu A. When two dipoles of different sizes were presented simultaneously, the subject's electrodiscrimination performance exceeded the 85\% correct choices level provided the dipole of 1 cm was tested against a dipole with a span of 1.5 cm or more. The average stimulus strength at 1 cm distance from the dipole axis ranged from 1 to 10 mV/cm. The swimming speed of the subject was 7 +/- 3 cm/s. The potential swing over the skin caused by the subject passing the dipole, matched the frequency band of the ampullary electroreceptor organs. Apparently motion of the fish with respect to a stationary direct-current stimulus source, or vice versa, generates st biologically adequate form of reafferent stimulation. Without relative motion an electrical de-source would remain unnoticed.

conditioning; direct-current; electric flow; dipole discrimination; two-alternative forced-choice (2AFC); electrolocation; electro-orientation; sensory-motor integration; exafferent; reafferent
5th Benelux Congress of Zoology, GHENT, BELGIUM, NOV 06-07, 1998
  • ISSN: 0777-6276

ISSN 2295-0451 (online version)
ISSN 0777-6279 (printed version)
impact factor 2015: 0,87.

Prof. Dr. Isa Schön
Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
Vautierstraat 29
1000 Brussels, Belgium


Annales de la Société malacologique de Belgique
​Annales de la Société royale malacologique et zoologique de Belgique
Annales de la Société Royale Zoologique de Belgique
Belgian Journal of Zoology