A Caltech Library Service

Electric organ discharges and electric images during electrolocation

Assad, Christopher and Rasnow, Brian and Stoddard, Philip K. (1999) Electric organ discharges and electric images during electrolocation. Journal of Experimental Biology, 202 (10). pp. 1185-1193. ISSN 0022-0949.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Weakly electric fish use active electrolocation - the generation and detection of electric currents - to explore their surroundings. Although electrosensory systems include some of the most extensively understood circuits in the vertebrate central nervous system, relatively little is known quantitatively about how fish electrolocate objects. We believe a prerequisite to understanding electrolocation and its underlying neural substrates is to quantify and visualize the peripheral electrosensory information measured by the electroreceptors. We have therefore focused on reconstructing both the electric organ discharges (EODs) and the electric images resulting from nearby objects and the fish's exploratory behaviors. Here, we review results from a combination of techniques, including field measurements, numerical and semi-analytical simulations, and video imaging of behaviors. EOD maps are presented and interpreted for six gymnotiform species. They reveal diverse electric field patterns that have significant implications for both the electrosensory and electromotor systems. Our simulations generated predictions of the electric images from nearby objects as well as sequences of electric images during exploratory behaviors. These methods are leading to the identification of image features and computational algorithms that could reliably encode electrosensory information and may help guide electrophysiological experiments exploring the neural basis of electrolocation.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Additional Information:© 1999 The Company of Biologists Limited. Accepted 25 January; published on WWW 21 April 1999. Much of this work was performed in the laboratory of James M. Bower. Rachel Hunter and Maritza Alvarado assisted with the behavioral experiments. Mark Kilburn assisted in mapping the EODs of B. pinnicaudatus and G. cylindricus. Melita Morton and Duanne Jones assisted in raising the pulse fish to maturity. Financial support came from NSF grant IBN-9319968 to J.M.B., FIU Foundation and NIH/NIGMS-GM08205-11 grants to P.K.S. and JPL/CISM to C.A.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Issue or Number:10
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20111201-095207645
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:28276
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:22 Dec 2011 23:48
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 03:30

Repository Staff Only: item control page