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A comparison of the electrosensory morphology of a euryhaline and a marine stingray

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Camilieri-Asch, V., Kempster, R. M., Collin, S. P., Johnstone, R. W. and Theiss, S. M. (2013) A comparison of the electrosensory morphology of a euryhaline and a marine stingray. Zoology, 116 (5). pp. 270-276. ISSN 0944-2006

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Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.zool.2013.05.002


The electrosensory system is found in all chondrichthyan fishes and is used for several biological functions, most notably prey detection. Variation in the physical parameters of a habitat type, i.e. water conductivity, may influence the morphology of the electrosensory system. Thus, the electrosensory systems of freshwater rays are considerably different from those of fully marine species; however, little research has so far examined the morphology and distribution of these systems in euryhaline elasmobranchs. The present study investigates and compares the morphology and distribution of electrosensory organs in two sympatric stingray species: the (euryhaline) estuary stingray, Dasyatis fluviorum, and the (marine) blue-spotted maskray, Neotrygon kuhlii. Both species possess a significantly higher number of ventral electrosensory pores than previously assessed elasmobranchs. This correlates with a diet consisting of benthic infaunal and epifaunal prey, where the electrosensory pore distribution patterns are likely to be a function of both ecology and phylogeny. The gross morphology of the electrosensory system in D. fluviorum is more similar to that of other marine elasmobranch species, rather than that of freshwater species. Both D. fluviorum and N. kuhlii possess 'macro-ampullae' with branching canals leading to several alveoli. The size of the pores and the length of the canals in D. fluviorum are smaller than in N. kuhlii, which is likely to be an adaptation to habitats with lower conductivity. This study indicates that the morphology of the electrosensmy system in.a euryhaline elasmobranch species seems very similar to that of their fully marine counterparts. However, some morphological differences are present between these two sympatric species, which are thought to be linked to their habitat type. (C) 2013 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Fisheries Queensland
Additional Information:Camilieri-Asch, Victoria Kempster, Ryan M. Collin, Shaun P. Johnstone, Ron W. Theiss, Susan M. National and International Research Alliances Program; Endeavor Foundation; University of Western Australia; Western Australian State Government The authors would like to thank Owen O'Shea, Jason Thompson and Ian Tibbetts for their assistance with animal collection, permits and ethics approvals, Michael Archer for his help with histology, as well as Darryl Whitehead for his contribution in commenting on the research and improving the manuscript. Additional thanks go as well to Gabriel Dupuis-Casanova and Marc J.A. Sadoux for assisting with the creation of digital distribution maps. Funding was provided by the National and International Research Alliances Program to V.C.A., S.M.T. and R.J., and by the Endeavor Foundation, University of Western Australia and the Western Australian State Government to R.M.K. and S.P.C. Elsevier gmbh, urban & fischer verlag Jena
Keywords:Dasyatidae Stingrays Electrosensory system Ampullary organ Elasmobranch ecology fresh-water ray lateral-line ampullary systems pore distribution dasyatis-sabina electroreception sharks lorenzini organs skates
Subjects:Aquaculture and Fisheries > Fisheries > Fishery research
Science > Zoology
Live Archive:03 Jul 2014 04:27
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:49

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