DETECTION AND GENERATION OF ELECTRIC SIGNALS | Physiology of Tuberous Electrosensory Systems

E. S. Fortune, M. J. Chacron

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Scopus citations


Tuberous electrosensory systems are found in two orders of weakly electrogenic fishes, the Gymnotiformes of South America and the Mormyriformes of Africa. In both of these clades encode perturbations of the autogenous electric field produced by each fish. Here, we review some of the organizational features and mechanisms used in tuberous electrosensory systems to represent information and extract salient features from these perturbations. At the periphery, electrosensory neurons use combinations of rate and/or timing codes to broadly encode information. This information is subjected to complex filtering at the next stage of processing, a hindbrain structure known as the electrosensory lateral line lobe (ELL). Neurons in the ELL receive massive descending feedback that can dramatically alters their encoding properties. Neurons in the ELL, in turn, transmit electrosensory information to the midbrain where complex features, such as moving objects and certain social signals, are extracted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Fish Physiology
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Genome to Environment: Volume 1-3
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9780123745453
ISBN (Print)9780080923239
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Active sensing
  • Electrolocation
  • Electroreceptor
  • Frequency tuning
  • Information theory
  • Weakly electric fish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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