Neural maps in the electrosensory system of weakly electric fish

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2014 Feb;24(1):13-21. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2013.08.013. Epub 2013 Sep 4.


The active electrosense of weakly electric fish is evolutionarily and developmentally related to passive electrosensation and the lateral line system. It shows the most highly differentiated topographic maps of the receptor array of all these senses. It is organized into three maps in the hindbrain that are, in turn, composed of columns, each consisting of six pyramidal cell classes. The cells in each column have different spatiotemporal processing properties yielding a total of 18 topographic representations of the body surface. The differential filtering by the hindbrain maps is used by superimposed maps in the multi-layered midbrain electrosensory region to extract specific stimulus features related to communication and foraging. At levels beyond the midbrain, topographic mapping of the body surface appears to be lost.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / physiology
  • Electric Fish / anatomy & histology*
  • Lateral Line System / anatomy & histology*
  • Lateral Line System / physiology
  • Nerve Net / anatomy & histology*
  • Nerve Net / physiology