Vibratory sources as compound stimuli for the octavolateralis systems: dissection of specific stimulation channels using multiple behavioral approaches

J Exp Psychol Anim Behav Process. 2010 Apr;36(2):243-57. doi: 10.1037/a0016747.


Underwater vibratory sources simultaneously present acoustic and hydrodynamic disturbances. Because vibratory dipole sources are poor sonic projectors, most researchers have assumed that such sources are of greatest relevance to the lateral line system. Both hydroacoustic principles and empirical studies have shown that dipole sources are also a potent stimulus to the inner ear. Responses to vibratory sources in mottled sculpin (Cottus bairdi) were assessed using unconditioned orienting, differential and nondifferential conditioning. Orienting responses are dominated by lateral line inputs and eliminated by lateral line inactivation. Simple conditioning depends on inputs from other systems and was not affected by lateral line inactivation. Differential conditioning alters behavioral control, and sculpin could be conditioned to ignore substrate-borne vibrations and respond only to hydroacoustic stimulation of the ear. The lateral line and inner ear of mottled sculpin do not necessarily exhibit range fractionation, as both systems operate over a similar distance (within 1.5 body lengths) and respond to many of the same sources. Vibratory dipole sources generate compound stimuli that simultaneously activate multiple octavolateralis systems, and sculpin make use of the channels differentially under different behavioral tasks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods
  • Animals
  • Antimutagenic Agents / pharmacology
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Cobalt / pharmacology
  • Conditioning, Classical / physiology
  • Ear, Inner / physiology
  • Fishes / physiology*
  • Lateral Line System / drug effects
  • Lateral Line System / physiology*
  • Orientation / physiology*
  • Probability
  • ROC Curve
  • Respiration
  • Signal Detection, Psychological*
  • Vibration*


  • Antimutagenic Agents
  • Cobalt
  • cobaltous chloride