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Interrelations Between the Auditory, the Visual and the Lateral Line Systems of Teleosts; a Mini-Review of Modelling Sensory Capabilities

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

Models are proposed, which allow the quality of performance of the auditory, visual and mechanosensory lateral line systems of 63 teleost species to be calculated. These systems are particularly suitable for remote detection of objects. The general capability of each system is expressed as an index, which is evaluated in relation to habitat and behaviour. The index of the lateral line canal system, LI, is mainly based on anatomical characteristics. Species with many superficial neuromasts generally have low LIs and appear to prefer quiet waters. The hearing index, HI, is based on the audiogram, the intensity discrimination threshold and the psychophysical tuning curve. It expresses the number of distinguishable pure tone-intensity combinations. Highest HIS are found among species living in shallow, mostly fresh waters with soft bottoms. Low and moderate HIS are related to noisy habitats. Excellent hearing is found only in species with Weberian ossicles or other structures to improve the swimbladder-ear coupling. The visual index, VI, is based upon the focal length of the eye and characteristics of the two principal retinorecipient tectal layers. The volume of these layers is proportional to the retinal surface area, irrespective of species and size. VI is in broad agreement with published data on the psychophysical minimum resolvable angle. High VIs are found among pelagic, diurnal species living in clear waters and vice versa. Well-developed canal lateral line organs seldom go together with very good hearing, but a high HI is often accompanied by large numbers of superficial neuromasts. Poor hearing is often compensated for by good vision, and vice versa. Species with a high VI are mostly predators.

Affiliations: 1: Laboratory of Medical Physics, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 15, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands


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