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The ability of a benthic elasmobranch to discriminate between biological and artificial electric fields
Kimber, J.A.; Sims, D.W.; Bellamy, P.H.; Gill, A.B. (2011). The ability of a benthic elasmobranch to discriminate between biological and artificial electric fields. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 158(1): 1-8.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Kimber, J.A.
  • Sims, D.W.
  • Bellamy, P.H.
  • Gill, A.B.

    To investigate the ability of elasmobranchs to distinguish between differing prey-type electric fields we examined the electroreceptive foraging behaviour of a model species, Scyliorhinus canicula (small-spotted catshark). Catshark preferences were studied by behaviourally conditioning them to swim through narrow tunnels, and on exit presenting them simultaneously with two different electric fields. Their subsequent choices of the following paired options were recorded; (i) Two artificial electric fields (dipole electrodes) with different magnitude direct current (D.C.), (ii) Two artificial electric fields, one D.C. and the other alternating current (A.C.), of the same magnitude, and (iii) similar magnitude, natural and artificial D.C. electric fields associated with shore crabs and dipole electrodes respectively. We found a highly significant preference for the stronger D.C. electric field and a less pronounced, but still significant, preference for the A.C. electric field rather than the D.C. electric field. No preference was demonstrated between the artificial and natural D.C. electric fields. The findings are discussed in relation to the animal’s diet and ecology and with regard to anthropogenic sources of electric fields within their habitat.

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