Date of Award

2001

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Department

Biology

Abstract

Weakly electric fish use electric fields for communication and location of objects. Electroreceptors that are located around the mouth and along the length of the body are used in order to "decode" the electric organ discharge (EOD). The knollenorgan in Mormyriformes aids in distinguishing between different EODs. Gymnotiformes, however, have no such electroreceptors. How then are Gyrnnotiformes distinguishing between conspecific EODs? In this study scan sampling was investigated to determine whether Gymnotus carapo uses this mechanism to differentiate between distinct EODs. After determining whether Gymnotus carapo was discriminating between neighbor and stranger EODs, these same EODs were played to the test fish either jittered (the EOD of the test fish and that of the playback could not coincide) or non-jittered (the two EODs could coincide). The results show that the test fish was not discriminating between neighbor and stranger EODs. Thus, conclusions about the use of scan sampling by Gymnotus carapo to distinguish between EODs cannot be made.

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