Advertisement

Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Development of a sex difference in the preferred latency response in the weakly electric fish, Pollimyrus isidori (Cuvier et Valenciennes) (Mormyridae, Teleostei)

  • 57 Accesses

  • 35 Citations

Summary

  1. 1.

    Pollimyrus isidori displays two types of electric organ discharge (EOD) phase-locking behaviours with EODs of other individuals, a given individual always displaying the same type. The preferred latency response (PLR) maintains preference of an EOD interval of 10–15 ms with another individual's EODs; the other type is the preferred latency avoidance (PLA) which consists of an avoidance of 10–20 ms intervals with another individual's EODs. We investigated whether these two EOD phase-coupling behaviours are age- or sex-related.

  2. 2.

    A morphological sex characteristic reported in various mormyrid genera was also found to be present in P. isidori. The base line of the anal fin of females is straight or slightly convex, while it is slightly concave in males (Fig. 2). The animals were sexually mature but not ready to spawn. Sex was determined from gonad histology (9 males, 15 females; Fig. 6).

  3. 3.

    No conspicuous sexual dimorphism in EOD wave form was found (Fig. 3). Morphologically recognizable males (n=11) display PLR, while morphologically recognizable females (n=12) show PLA (Fig. 4). In six of the males and four of the females sex was also confirmed histologically. Young fish (n=6) below a critical range of 5.7–6.3 cm body length show random EOD latency distributions to the stimulus pulses (Fig. 4C); the sexes of these fish could not be determined by the morphological criterion. Only when they had grown to body lengths beyond the critical range did each individual display either PLR (n=4) or the PLA (n=2; Fig. 5). The individuals did not change the type of response (followed up to 20 months). The emergence of the sex difference in electrical behaviour proceded considerably the emergence of the morphological sex difference of the anal fin beginning at 7.4 cm body length.

  4. 4.

    For the following reasons, it is suggested that PLR or PLA is not a jamming avoidance device: (1) neither type of EOD latency behaviour effectively reduces the probability of EOD coincidences below what was expected from random occurrence; (2) the probability of EOD coincidences in two independently discharging fish is exceedingly low (1–3 coincidences in 1,000 pairs of pulses) as a result of low repetition rates (10–25 EODs/s) and short EOD duration (50 μs).

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Arndt EA (1956) Histologische und histochemische Untersuchungen über die Oogenese und bipolare Differenzierung von Süß-wasser-Teleosteern. Protoplasma 47:1–36

  2. Balon EK (1974) The fishes of Lake Kariba, Africa. T.F.H. Publications, Hongkong

  3. Bauer R (1972) High electric discharge frequency during aggressive behaviour in a mormyrid fish, Gnathonemus petersii. Experientia 28:669–670

  4. Bauer R, Kramer B (1974) Agonistic behaviour in mormyrid fish: latency-relationship between the electric discharges of Gnathonemus petersii. Experientia 30:51–52

  5. Beadle LC (1974) The inland waters of tropical Africa. An introduction to tropical limnology. Longman, London

  6. Bell CC, Myers JP, Russell CJ (1974) Electric organ discharge patterns during dominance related behaviour displays in Gnathonemus petersii. J Comp Physiol 92:201–228

  7. Boulenger GA (1907) Zoology of Egypt: The fishes of the Nile. Hugh Rees, London

  8. Brock J (1878) Beiträge zur Anatomie und Histologie der Geschlechtsorgane der Knochenfische. Gegenbaurs Morphol Jahrb 4:505–572

  9. Franz V (1920) Zur mikroskopischen Anatomie der Mormyriden. Zool Jahrb Abt Anat Ontog 42:91–148

  10. Greenwood PH (1966) The fishes of Uganda. The Uganda Society, Kampala

  11. Heiligenberg W (1976) Electrolocation and jamming avoidance in the mormyrid fish Brienomyrus. J Comp Physiol 109:357–373

  12. Heiligenberg W (1977) Principles of electrolocation and jamming avoidance in electric fish. A neuroethological approach. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York

  13. Hopkins CD (1980) Evolution of electric communication channels of mormyrids. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 7:1–13

  14. Hopkins CD, Heiligenberg W (1978) Evolutionary designs for electric signals and electroreceptors in gymnotoid fishes of Surinam. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 3:113–134

  15. Hes RB (1960) External sexual differences and their significance in Mormyrus kannume (Forskal). Nature 188:516

  16. Kirschbaum F (1975) Environmental factors control the periodical reproduction of tropical electric fish. Experientia 31:1159–1160

  17. Kirschbaum F (1979) Reproduction of the weakly electric fish Eigenmannia virescens (Rhamphichthyidae, Teleostei) in captivity. I. Control of gonadal recrudescence and regression by environmental factors. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 4:331–355

  18. Kirschbaum F, Westby GWM (1975) Development of the electric discharge in mormyrid and gymnotid fish (Marcusenius sp. and Eigenmannia virescens). Experientia 31:1290–1293

  19. Kramer B (1974) 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

  20. Kramer B (1976) The attack frequency of Gnathonemus petersii towards electrically silent (denervated) and intact conspecifics, and towards another mormyrid (Brienomyrus niger). Bchav Ecol Sociobiol 1:425–446

  21. Kramer B (1978) Spontaneous discharge rhythms and social signalling in the weakly electric fish Pollimyrus isidori (Cuvier et Valenciennes) (Mormyridae, Teleostei). Behav Ecol Sociobiol 4:61–74

  22. Kramer B (1979) Electric and motor responses of the weakly electric fish, Gnathonemus petersii (Mormyridae), to play-back of social signals. Bchav Ecol Sociobiol 6:67–79

  23. Kramer B, Bauer R (1976) Agonistic behaviour and electric signalling in a mormyrid fish, Gnathonemus petersii. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 1:45–61

  24. Mattei X, Mattei C, Reizer C, Chevalier J-L (1972) Ultrastructure des spermatozoides aflagellés des mormyres (poissons téléostéens). J Microsc 15:67–78

  25. Moller P (1970) Communication in weakly electric fish, Gnathonemus petersii (Mormyridae). I. Variation of electric organ discharge (EOD) frequecy elicited by controlled electric stimuli. Anim Behav 18:768–786

  26. Moller P (1980) Electroperception. Oceanus 23:44–54

  27. Moller P, Bauer R (1973) ‘Communication’ in weakly electric fish Gnathonemus niger (Mormyridae). II. Interaction of electric organ discharge activities of two fish. Anim Behav 21:501–512

  28. Moller P, Serrier J, Belbenoit P, Push S (1979) Notes on ethology and ecology of Swashi River mormyrids (Lake Kainji, Nigeria). Behav Ecol Sociobiol 4:357–368

  29. Nawar G (1960a) Observation on breeding and growth of six members of the Nile mormyrids. Ann Mag Nat Hist 14:493–504

  30. Okedi J (1969a) The biology and habits of the mormyrid fishes Gnathonemus longibarbus, Gnathonemus victoriae, Marcusenius grahami, Marcusenius nigricans, and Petrocephalus catostoma. J Appl Ecol 2:408–409

  31. Okedi J (1969b) Observations on the breeding and growths of certain mormyrid fishes of the Lake Victoria basin. Rev Zool Bot Afr 79:34–64

  32. Okedi J (1970) A study of the fecundity of some mormyrid fishes from Lake Victoria. East Afr Agric For J 35:436–442

  33. Poll M (1959) Recherches sur la faune ichthyologique de la région du Stanley Pool. Annl Mus Congo Belge, Sci Zool 71:75–174

  34. Romeis B (1968) Mikroskopische Tehnik, 16. Aufl. Oldenbourg, München, Wien

  35. Russell CJ, Myers JP, Bell CC (1974) The echo response in Gnathanemus petersii (Mormyridae). J Comp Physiol 92:181–200

  36. Sachs L (1978) Angewandte Statistik, 5. Aufl. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York

  37. Svensson GSO (1933) Fresh water fishes from the Gambia River. K Sven Vetenskapsakad Handl 12:1–102

  38. Taverne L (1971) Note sur la systématique des poissons mormyriformes. Le problème des genres Gnathonemus, Marcusenius, Hippopotamyrus, Cyphomyrus et les nouveaux genres Pollimyrus et Brienomyrus. Rev Zool Bot Afr 84:99–110

  39. Westby GWM, Kirschbaum F (1977) Emergence and development of the electric organ discharge in the mormyrid fish, Pollimyrus isidori. I. The larval discharge. J Comp Physiol 122:251–271

  40. Westby GWM, Kirschbaum F (1978) Emergence and development of the electric organ discharge in the mormyrid fish, Pollimyrus isidori. II. Replacement of the larval by the adult discharge. J Comp Physiol 127:45–59

  41. Zipser B, Bennett MVL (1976) Interaction and electromotor signals in the lateral line lobe of a mormyrid fish. J Neurophysiol 39:713–721

Download references

Author information

Additional information

Authors' new address

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Lücker, H., Kramer, B. Development of a sex difference in the preferred latency response in the weakly electric fish, Pollimyrus isidori (Cuvier et Valenciennes) (Mormyridae, Teleostei). Behav Ecol Sociobiol 9, 103–109 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00293581

Download citation

Keywords

  • Body Length
  • Latency Distribution
  • Electric Organ Discharge
  • Young Fish
  • Critical Range