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A superfast muscle in the complex sonic apparatus of Ophidion rochei (Ophidiiformes): histological and physiological approaches
Kéver, L.; Boyle, S; Dragicevic, B; Dulcic, J; Parmentier, E. (2014). A superfast muscle in the complex sonic apparatus of Ophidion rochei (Ophidiiformes): histological and physiological approaches. J. Exp. Biol. 217(19): 3432-3440.
In: Journal of Experimental Biology. Cambridge University Press: London. ISSN 0022-0949, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Ophidion rochei Müller, 1845 [WoRMS]; Marine
Author keywords
    Fast muscle; Fish; Sound

Authors  Top 
  • Kéver, L., more
  • Boyle, S
  • Dragicevic, B.
  • Dulcic, J.
  • Parmentier, E., more

    In teleosts, superfast muscles are generally associated with the swimbladder wall, whose vibrations result in sound production. In Ophidion rochei, three pairs of muscles were named ‘sonic’ because their contractions affect swimbladder position: the dorsal sonic muscle (DSM), the intermediate sonic muscle (ISM), and the ventral sonic muscle (VSM). These muscles were investigated thanks to electron microscopy and electromyography in order to determine their function in sound production. Fibers of the VSM and DSM were much thinner than the fibers of the ISM and epaxial musculature. However, only VSM fibers had the typical ultrastructure of superfast muscles: low proportion of myofibrils, and high proportions of sarcoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria. In females, each sound onset was preceded by the onset of electrical activity in the VSM and the DSM (ISM was not tested). The electromyograms of the VSM were very similar to the waveforms of the sounds: means for the pulse period were 3.6±0.5 and 3.6±0.7 ms, respectively. This shows that the fast VSM (ca. 280 Hz) is responsible for the pulse period and fundamental frequency of female sounds. DSM electromyograms were generally characterized by one or two main peaks followed by periods of lower electrical activity, which suggests a sustained contraction over the course of the sound. The fiber morphology of the ISM and its antagonistic position relative to the DSM are not indicative of a muscle capable of superfast contractions. Overall, this study experimentally shows the complexity of the sound production mechanism in the nocturnal fish O. rochei.

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