Species-Specific Diversity of a Fixed Motor Pattern: The Electric Organ Discharge of Gymnotus
Abbreviated Journal Title
Understanding fixed motor pattern diversity across related species provides a window for exploring the evolution of their underlying neural mechanisms. The electric organ discharges of weakly electric fishes offer several advantages as paradigmatic models for investigating how a neural decision is transformed into a spatiotemporal pattern of action. Here, we compared the far fields, the near fields and the electromotive force patterns generated by three species of the pulse generating New World gymnotiform genus Gymnotus. We found a common pattern in electromotive force, with the far field and near field diversity determined by variations in amplitude, duration, and the degree of synchronization of the different components of the electric organ discharges. While the rostral regions of the three species generate similar profiles of electromotive force and local fields, most of the species-specific differences are generated in the main body and tail regions of the fish. This causes that the waveform of the field is highly site dependant in all the studied species. These findings support a hypothesis of the relative separation of the electrolocation and communication carriers. The presence of early head negative waves in the rostral region, a species-dependent early positive wave at the caudal region, and the different relationship between the late negative peak and the main positive peak suggest three points of lability in the evolution of the electrogenic system: a) the variously timed neuronal inputs to different groups of electrocytes; b) the appearance of both rostrally and caudally innervated electrocytes, and c) changes in the responsiveness of the electrocyte membrane.
"Species-Specific Diversity of a Fixed Motor Pattern: The Electric Organ Discharge of Gymnotus" (2008). Faculty Bibliography 2000s. 901.