Electric field detection in sawfish and shovelnose rays

Wueringer, Barbara E., Jnr, Lyle Squire, Kajiura, Stephen M., Tibbetts, Ian R., Hart, Nathan S. and Collin, Shaun P. (2012) Electric field detection in sawfish and shovelnose rays. PLoS One, 7 7 Article No. e41605: . doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0041605

Author Wueringer, Barbara E.
Jnr, Lyle Squire
Kajiura, Stephen M.
Tibbetts, Ian R.
Hart, Nathan S.
Collin, Shaun P.
Title Electric field detection in sawfish and shovelnose rays
Journal name PLoS One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2012-07
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0041605
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 7
Issue 7 Article No. e41605
Total pages 8
Place of publication San Francisco, CA United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Formatted abstract
In the aquatic environment, living organisms emit weak dipole electric fields, which spread in the surrounding water. Elasmobranchs detect these dipole electric fields with their highly sensitive electroreceptors, the ampullae of Lorenzini. Freshwater sawfish, Pristis microdon, and two species of shovelnose rays, Glaucostegus typus and Aptychotrema rostrata were tested for their reactions towards weak artificial electric dipole fields. The comparison of sawfishes and shovelnose rays sheds light on the evolution and function of the elongated rostrum ('saw') of sawfish, as both groups evolved from a shovelnose ray-like ancestor. Electric stimuli were presented both on the substrate (to mimic benthic prey) and suspended in the water column (to mimic free-swimming prey). Analysis of around 480 behavioural sequences shows that all three species are highly sensitive towards weak electric dipole fields, and initiate behavioural responses at median field strengths between 5.15 and 79.6 nVcm -1. The response behaviours used by sawfish and shovelnose rays depended on the location of the dipoles. The elongation of the sawfish's rostrum clearly expanded their electroreceptive search area into the water column and enables them to target free-swimming prey
Keyword Dasyatis-Sabina
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

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