Electrifying love: electric fish use species-specific discharge for mate recognition

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2009
Authors:Feulner, P. G. D., Plath, M., Engelmann, J., Kirschbaum, F., Tiedemann R.
Journal:Biology Letters
Pagination:225 - 228
Date Published:04/2009

A unique evolutionary specialization of African weakly electric fish (Mormyridae) is their ability to produce and perceive electric signals. Mormyrids use their electric organs discharge (EOD) for electrolocation and electrocommunication. Here we discuss the adaptive significance of the EOD in foraging (electric prey detec- tion) in light of recent results demonstrating that mormyrid fish mate assortatively according to EOD waveform characteristics (electric mate choice). Therefore the EOD as a single trait pleio- tropically combines natural divergent selection and reproductive isolation. Consequently we postulate the EOD as a “magic trait” promoting the diversification of African weakly electric fish.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith