Synodontid catfish: a new group of weakly electric fish. Behavior and anatomy

Brain Behav Evol. 1990;35(5):268-77. doi: 10.1159/000115873.


Three species of synodontid catfish can produce weak biphasic electric discharges in either continuous or burst-like fashion. The peak-power frequency of these electric organ discharges is around 100 Hz. The electric organ appears to have originated from a sonic muscle: the organ lies dorsal to the swim bladder, contains modified muscle tissue, and is innervated from a motor nucleus located in the caudal medulla. It is possible that synodontid catfish use electric signals in communication and/or object detection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Catfishes / physiology*
  • Electric Organ / innervation
  • Electric Organ / physiology*
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Motor Neurons / physiology
  • Muscles / innervation
  • Species Specificity*
  • Spinal Cord / anatomy & histology