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Review
. 1992 Dec;23(10):1446-66.
doi: 10.1002/neu.480231007.

Development of the Jamming Avoidance Response and Its Morphological Correlates in the Gymnotiform Electric Fish, Eigenmannia

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Review

Development of the Jamming Avoidance Response and Its Morphological Correlates in the Gymnotiform Electric Fish, Eigenmannia

M Hagedorn et al. J Neurobiol. .

Abstract

The electric fish, Eigenmannia, will smoothly shift the frequency of its electric organ discharge away from an interfering electric signal. This shift in frequency is called the jamming avoidance response (JAR). In this article, we analyze the behavioral development of the JAR and the anatomical development of structures critical for the performance of the JAR. The JAR first appears when juvenile Eigenmannia are approximately 1 month old, at a total length of 13-18 mm. We have found that the establishment of much of the sensory periphery and of central connections precedes the onset of the JAR. We describe three aspects of the behavioral development of the JAR: (a) the onset and development of the behavior is closely correlated with size, not age; (b) the magnitude (in Hz) of the JAR increases with size until the juveniles display values within the adult range (10-20 Hz) at a total length of 25-30 mm; and (3) the JAR does not require prior experience or exposure to electrical signals. Raised in total electrical isolation from the egg stage, animals tested at a total length of 25 mm performed a correct JAR when first exposed to the stimulus. We examine the development of anatomical areas important for the performance of the JAR: the peripheral electrosensory system (mechano- and electroreceptors and peripheral nerves); and central electrosensory pathways and nuclei [the electrosensory lateral line lobe (ELL), the lateral lemniscus, the torus semicircularis, and the pace-maker nucleus]. The first recognizable structures in the developing electrosensory system are the peripheral neurites of the anterior lateral line nerve. The afferent nerves are established by day 2, which is prior to the formation of receptors in the epidermis. Thus, the neurites wait for their targets. This sequence of events suggests that receptor formation may be induced by innervation of primordial cells within the epidermis. Mechanoreceptors are first formed between day 3 and 4, while electroreceptors are first formed on day 7. Electroreceptor multiplication is observed for the first time at an age of 25 days and correlates with the onset of the JAR. The somata of the anterior lateral line nerve ganglion project afferents out to peripheral electroreceptors and also send axons centrally into the ELL. The first electroreceptive axons invade the ELL by day 6, and presumably a rough somatotopic organization and segmentation within the ELL may arise as early as day 7. Axonal projections from the ELL to the torus develop after day 18.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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