Seven isolated G. petersii resting in their daytime hiding-places were stimulated via a dipole model (Fig. 1a) with previously tape-recorded electric organ discharge (EOD) patterns in an attempt to determine whether G. petersii distinguishes two different intraspecific EOD patterns, rest and attack.
Rest pattern A was characterized by a broad distribution of EOD intervals, a low mean discharge rate (8 Hz, Fig. 3), and a long period of significantly positive autocorrelation (2 s, Fig. 4a). Accordingly, the spectrum of EOD rate fluctuations showed a low frequency range (0.005 to 0.12 Hz, Fig. 5a). Attack pattern B was a considerably different EOD interval distribution of high mean discharge rate (25 Hz, Fig. 3), showing a short period of significantly positive autocorrelation (0.8 s, Fig. 4b), only. Here, the spectrum of EOD rate fluctuations was at a considerably higher frequency range (0.09 to 0.47 Hz, Fig. 5b).
Play-back of attack pattern B elicited significantly more bodily startle responses from the experimental fish (Fig. 6) than did the rest pattern A (Table 1). Also the number of attacks directed at the dipolemodel was significantly greater during stimulation with attack pattern B (Table 2, Fig. 6).
The EOD responses of the experimental fish differed in several respects depending on which stimulation pattern was used. The modes of the pulse rate histograms as well as their spans were lower during play-back of rest pattern A than during stimulation with attack pattern B (average 12.3 vs 16.2 Hz, and average 47 vs 56 Hz, respectively; Fig. 11). Shortterm (0.2 s) EOD rate correlations were stronger when the fish were stimulated with rest pattern A than when they were stimulated with attack pattern B (average correlations 0.67 and 0.61, respectively; Figs. 10 and 11). Significant positive correlations were maintained for longer periods of time during rest pattern stimulation than during attack pattern stimulation (average 1.94 and 1.24 s, respectively; Figs. 10 and 11). The spectra of EOD rate fluctuations of the stimulated fish were at lower frequency ranges during rest pattern stimulation than during attack pattern stimulation (average amplitude-spectrum peak frequencies 0.02 and 0.07 Hz, respectively; Figs. 12 and 13).
Although maximal cross-correlations from the EOD rates to the stimulus pulse rates were weaker during rest pattern stimulation (average 0.2) than during attack pattern stimulation (average 0.33), significant cross-correlations were maintained for longer periods of time during rest pattern stimulation than during attack pattern stimulation (average 1.78 and 0.92 s, respectively). The lags of maximal cross-correlations were greater during rest pattern stimulation than during attack pattern stimulation (average 2.6 and 0.8 s, respectively; Figs. 14 and 15).
The results clearly showed that at least two specific EOD time patterns encode different ‘messages’ in the intraspecific communication system of G. petersii.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Bauer, R.: High electrical discharge frequency during aggressive behaviour in a mormyrid fish, Gnathonemus petersii. Experientia 28, 669 (1972)
Bauer, R.: Electric organ discharge activity of resting and stimulated Gnathonemus petersii (Mormyridae). Behaviour 50, 306–323 (1974)
Bauer, R., Kramer, B.: Agonistic behaviour in mormyrid fish: Latency-relationship between the electric discharges of Gnathonemus petersii and Mormyrus rume. Experientia 30, 51–52 (1974)
Belbenoit, P.: Relations entre la motricité et la décharge électrique chez les Mormyridae (Teleostei). J. Physiol. Paris 65, 197A (1972)
Bell, C.C., Myers, J.P., Russell, C.J.: Electric organ discharge patterns during dominance related behavioural displays in Gnathonemus petersii (Mormyridae). J. Comp. Physiol. 92, 201–228 (1974)
Boudirot, M.: Contribution à l'étude des caractéristiques électriques de l'organe effecteur de Gnathonemus petersii. Mémoire présenté au conservatoire national des Arts et métiers pour obtenir le diplôme d'ingénieur C.N.A.M., Paris 1972
Box, G.E.P., Jenkins, G.M.: Time series analysis: Forecasting and control. San Fracisco: Holden Day 1976
Harder, W., Schief, A., Uhlemann, H.: Zur Empfindlichkeit des schwachelektrischen Fisches Gnathonemus petersii (Gthr. 1862) (Mormyriformes, Teleostei) genenüber elektrischen Feldern. Z. Vergl. Physiol. 54, 89–108 (1967)
Heillgenberg, W.: Electrolocation and jamming avoidance in the mormyrid fish Brienomyrus. J. Comp. Physiol. 109, 357–372 (1976)
Heiligenberg, W.: Principles of electrolocation and jamming avoidance in electric fish. A neuroethological approach. In: Studies of brain function, Vol. 1. Braitenberg, V., Barlow, H.B., Florey, E., Grüsser, O.-J., Loos, H. van der (eds.). Berlin, Heidelberg, New York: Springer 1977
Kramer, B.: Electric organ discharge interaction during interspecific agonistic behaviour in freely swimming mormyrid fish. A method to evaluate two (or more) simultaneous time series of events with a digital analyser. J. Comp. Physiol. 93, 203–235 (1974)
Kramer, B.: Electric signalling during aggressive behaviour in Mormyrus rume (Mormyridae, Teleostei). Naturwissenschaften 63, 48 (1976a)
Kramer, B.: Flight-associated discharge pattern in a weakly electric fish, Gnathonemus petersii (Mormyridae, Teleostei). Behaviour 59, 88–95 (1976b)
Kramer, B.: The attack frequency of Gnathonemus petersii towards electrically silent (denervated) and intact conspecifics, and towards another mormyrid (Brienomyrus niger). Behav. Ecol. Sciiobiol. 1, 425–446 (1976c)
Kramer, B.: Spontaneous discharge rhythms and social signalling in the weakly electric fish, Pollimyrus isidori (Cuvier et Valenciennes) (Mormyridae, Teleostei). Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol, 4 61–74 (1978)
Kramer, B., Bauer, R.: Agonistic behaviour and electric signalling in a mormyrid fish, Gnathonemus petersii. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 1, 45–61, (1976)
Möhres, F.P.: Elektrische Entladungen im Dienste der Revierabgrenzung bei Fischen. Naturwissenschaften 44, 431–432 (1957)
Moller, P.: ‘Communication’ in weakly electric fish, Gnathonemus niger (Mormyridae). I. Variation of electric organ discharge (EOD)frequency elicited by controlled electric stimuli. Anim. Behav. 18, 768–786 (1970)
Moller, P.: Electric signals and schooling behaviour in a weakly electric fish, Marcusenius cyprinoides L. (Mormyriformes). Science 193, 697–699 (1976)
Moller, P., Bauer, R.: ‘Communication’ in weakly electric fish, Gnathonemus petersii (Mormyridae). II. Interaction of electric organ discharge activities of two fish. Anim. Behav.21,501–512 (1973)
Russell, C.J., Myers, J.P., Bell, C.C.: The echo response in Gnathonemus petersii (Mormyridae). J. Comp. Physiol. 92, 181–200 (1974)
Sänger, K.: Ein Beitrag zur Klärung der Rolle der Entladungen des elektrischen Organs im Verhalten von Gnathonemus petersii (Gthr 1862) (Mormyriformes, Teleostei). Sitzungsber. Oesterr. Akad. Wiss. Math. Naturwiss. Kl., Abt. I, 180, 29–48 (1972)
Serrier, J.: Modifications instanées du rythme de l'activité électrique d'un Mormyre, Gnathonemus petersii, provoquées par la stimulation électrique artificielle de ses électrorécepteurs. J. Physiol. Paris 66, 713–728 (1973)
Siegel, S.: Nonparametric statistics for the behavioral sciences. New York: McGraw-Hill 1956
Szabo, T., cited by Lissmann, H.W.:Ecological studies on gymnotids. In: Bioelectrogenesis. Chagas, C., Paes de Carvalho, A. (eds.), pp. 215–226 Amsterdam: Elsevier 1961
About this article
Cite this article
Kramer, B. Electric and Motor responses of the Weakly electric fish, Gnathonemus petersii (Mormyridae), to play-back of social signals. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 6, 67–79 (1979). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00293246
- Startle Response
- Experimental Fish
- Electric Organ Discharge
- Electric Fish
- Stimulus Pulse