Finding Nemo with electricity

Researchers have discovered an electrifying love story in the turbid rivers of the lower Congo rapids. Elephant-nosed electric fish find and recognize their mates through crackling communications, according a study published today (Nov. 25) in__ linkurl:Biology Letters.;http://publishing.royalsociety.org/index.cfm?page=1566 Campylomormyrus__ elephant-nosed fish have a specialized muscular organ that emits millivolt-strength electric signals -- too weak for humans to much notice but powerful eno

Elie Dolgin
Nov 25, 2008
Researchers have discovered an electrifying love story in the turbid rivers of the lower Congo rapids. Elephant-nosed electric fish find and recognize their mates through crackling communications, according a study published today (Nov. 25) in__ linkurl:Biology Letters.;http://publishing.royalsociety.org/index.cfm?page=1566 Campylomormyrus__ elephant-nosed fish have a specialized muscular organ that emits millivolt-strength electric signals -- too weak for humans to much notice but powerful enough to help the fish navigate and communicate. In 2006, linkurl:Philine Feulner,;http://www.jon-slate.staff.shef.ac.uk/html/philine_feulner.html an evolutionary biologist at the University of Sheffield, UK, and her colleagues linkurl:showed;http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6WNH-4HG6NX7-1&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=732ff4a2b78551d05a013e94051b33fd that the electric discharges were species-specific, and could be used to tease apart cryptic __Campylomormyrus__ species. Now, her team has found that females linkurl:choose their mates;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/24522/ based on the electric serenades, too.

A __Campylomormyrus compressirostris__ male

"We knew they communicated [through electric discharges]," linkurl:Phillip Stoddard,;http://www.fiu.edu/~stoddard/ a zoologist at Florida International University in Miami, who was not involved in the study, told __The Scientist__. "The missing...

The female elephant-nosed fish (center) chooses between two potential electrifying lovers

Photo credit: Frank Kirschbaum. Video courtesy of Philine Feulner.

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