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, 187 (9), 747-56

Differential Production of Chirping Behavior Evoked by Electrical Stimulation of the Weakly Electric Fish, Apteronotus Leptorhynchus

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Differential Production of Chirping Behavior Evoked by Electrical Stimulation of the Weakly Electric Fish, Apteronotus Leptorhynchus

G Engler et al. J Comp Physiol A.

Abstract

Aperonotus leptorhynchus (Gymnotiformes) produces wave-like electric organ discharges distinguished by a high degree of constancy. Transient frequency and amplitude modulations of these discharges occur both spontaneously and during social interactions, which can be mimicked by external electrical stimulation. The so-called chirps can be divided into four different types. Independent of the type of chirp produced under spontaneous conditions, the fish generate only significant numbers of type-2 chirps under evoked conditions. The rate of production of chirps of this type is largely determined by the frequency relative to the fish's frequency and signal intensity. Frequencies of + 10 Hz of the fish's own discharge frequency most effectively elicit chirps. Type-2 chirps can also be evoked through stimulation at or near the higher harmonic frequencies of the fish's frequency, but the chirp rate decreases with increasing number of the higher harmonic component. Over a certain range, the rate of production of type-2 chirps increases with increasing stimulus intensity. At very high intensities the generation of type-2 chirps is accompanied by the production of a novel type of electrical signal ("abrupt frequency rise") characterized by a frequency increase of approximately 20 Hz and high repetition rates of roughly 10 s(-1). We hypothesize that the different types of electric modulations subserve different behavioral functions.

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