Sample records for knifefish brachyhypopomus pinnicaudatus

  1. A taxonomic revision of the Neotropical electric fish genus Brachyhypopomus (Ostariophysi: Gymnotiformes: Hypopomidae, with descriptions of 15 new species

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    William G. R. Crampton

    Full Text Available ABSTRACT The bluntnose knifefish genus BrachyhypopomusMago-Leccia, 1994, is diagnosed from other Rhamphichthyoidea (Rhamphichthyidae + Hypopomidae by the presence of a disk-like ossification in the anterior portion of the palatoquadrate, and by the following external characters: short snout, 18.7-32.6% of head length (vs. 33.3-68.6% in Hypopomus, Gymnorhamphichthys, Iracema, and Rhamphichthys, absence of a paired accessory electric organ in the mental or humeral region (vs. presence in Hypopygus and Steatogenys, presence of 3-4 pectoral proximal radials (vs. 5 in Akawaio, presence of the antorbital + infraorbital, and the preopercular cephalic lateral line canal bones (vs. absence in Racenisia. Brachyhypopomus cannot be diagnosed unambiguously from Microsternarchus or from Procerusternarchus on the basis of external characters alone. Brachyhypopomus comprises 28 species. Here we describe 15 new species, and provide redescriptions of all 13 previously described species, based on meristic, morphometric, and other morphological characters. We include notes on ecology and natural history for each species, and provide regional dichotomous keys and distribution maps, based on the examination of 12,279 specimens from 2,787 museum lots. A lectotype is designated for Brachyhypopomus pinnicaudatus (Hopkins, Comfort, Bastian & Bass, 1990. Brachyhypopomus species are abundant in shallow lentic and slow-flowing freshwater habitats from southern Costa Rica and northern Venezuela to Uruguay and northern Argentina. Species diversity is highest in Greater Amazonia, where 20 species occur: B. alberti, new species, B. arrayae, new species, and B. cunia, new species, in the upper rio Madeira drainage; B. batesi, new species, in the central Amazon and rio Negro; B. beebei, B. brevirostris, B. regani, new species, B. sullivani, new species, and B. walteri, widespread through the Amazon and Orinoco basins and the Guianas; B. belindae, new species, in the central

  2. Two new species and a new subgenus of toothed Brachyhypopomus electric knifefishes (Gymnotiformes, Hypopomidae) from the central Amazon and considerations pertaining to the evolution of a monophasic electric organ discharge. (United States)

    Sullivan, John P; Zuanon, Jansen; Cox Fernandes, Cristina


    We describe two new, closely related species of toothed Brachyhypopomus (Hypopomidae: Gymnotiformes: Teleostei) from the central Amazon basin and create a new subgenus for them. Odontohypopomus, new subgenus of Brachyhypopomus, is diagnosed by (1) small teeth present on premaxillae; (2) medialmost two branchiostegal rays thin with blades oriented more vertically than remaining three rays; (3) background color in life (and to lesser extent in preservation) distinctly yellowish with head and sides peppered with small, widely spaced, very dark brown stellate chromatophores that greatly contrast with light background coloration; (4) a dark blotch or bar of subcutaneous pigment below the eye; (5) electric organ discharge waveform of very long duration (head-positive phase approx. 2 milliseconds or longer, head-negative phase shorter or absent) and slow pulse repetition rate (3-16 Hz). The type species of the new subgenus, Brachyhypopomus (Odontohypopomus) walteri sp. n., is diagnosed by the following additional character states: (1) subcutaneous dark pigment at base of orbit particularly prominent, (2) body semi-translucent and nearly bright yellow background coloration in life, (3) a biphasic electric organ discharge (EOD) waveform of very long duration (between 3.5 and 4 milliseconds at 25° C) with head-positive first phase significantly longer than second head-negative phase in both sexes. Brachyhypopomus (Odontohypopomus) bennetti sp. n. is diagnosed by two character states in addition to those used to diagnose the subgenus Odontohypopomus: (1) a deep electric organ, visible as large semi-transparent area, occupying approximately 14-17% body depth directly posterior to the abdominal cavity in combination with a short, but deep, caudal filament, and (2) a monophasic, head-positive EOD waveform, approximately 2.1 milliseconds in duration in both sexes. These are the only described rhamphichthyoid gymnotiforms with oral teeth, and Brachyhypopomus bennetti is the first

  3. Phylogenetic Systematics, Biogeography, and Ecology of the Electric Fish Genus Brachyhypopomus (Ostariophysi: Gymnotiformes.

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    William G R Crampton

    Full Text Available A species-level phylogenetic reconstruction of the Neotropical bluntnose knifefish genus Brachyhypopomus (Gymnotiformes, Hypopomidae is presented, based on 60 morphological characters, approximately 1100 base pairs of the mitochondrial cytb gene, and approximately 1000 base pairs of the nuclear rag2 gene. The phylogeny includes 28 species of Brachyhypopomus and nine outgroup species from nine other gymnotiform genera, including seven in the superfamily Rhamphichthyoidea (Hypopomidae and Rhamphichthyidae. Parsimony and Bayesian total evidence phylogenetic analyses confirm the monophyly of the genus, and identify nine robust species groups. Homoplastic osteological characters associated with diminutive body size and occurrence in small stream habitats, including loss of squamation and simplifications of the skeleton, appear to mislead a phylogenetic analysis based on morphological characters alone-resulting in the incorrect placing of Microsternarchus + Racenisia in a position deeply nested within Brachyhypopomus. Consideration of geographical distribution in light of the total evidence phylogeny indicates an origin for Brachyhypopomus in Greater Amazonia (the superbasin comprising the Amazon, Orinoco and major Guiana drainages, with subsequent dispersal and vicariance in peripheral basins, including the La Plata, the São Francisco, and trans-Andean basins of northwest South America and Central America. The ancestral habitat of Brachyhypopomus likely resembled the normoxic, low-conductivity terra firme stream system occupied by many extant species, and the genus has subsequently occupied a wide range of terra firme and floodplain habitats including low- and high-conductivity systems, and normoxic and hypoxic systems. Adaptations for impedance matching to high conductivity, and/or for air breathing in hypoxic systems have attended these habitat transitions. Several species of Brachyhypopomus are eurytopic with respect to habitat occupancy and

  4. X1X1X2X2/X1X2Y sex chromosome systems in the Neotropical Gymnotiformes electric fish of the genus Brachyhypopomus

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    Adauto Lima Cardoso


    Full Text Available Several types of sex chromosome systems have been recorded among Gymnotiformes, including male and female heterogamety, simple and multiple sex chromosomes, and different mechanisms of origin and evolution. The X1X1X2X2/X1X2Y systems identified in three species of this order are considered homoplasic for the group. In the genus Brachyhypopomus, only B. gauderio presented this type of system. Herein we describe the karyotypes of Brachyhypopomus pinnicaudatus and B. n. sp. FLAV, which have an X1X1X2X2/X1X2Y sex chromosome system that evolved via fusion between an autosome and the Y chromosome. The morphology of the chromosomes and the meiotic pairing suggest that the sex chromosomes of B. gauderio and B. pinnicaudatus have a common origin, whereas in B . n. sp. FLAV the sex chromosome system evolved independently. However, we cannot discard the possibility of common origin followed by distinct processes of differentiation. The identification of two new karyotypes with an X1X1X2X2/X1X2Y sex chromosome system in Gymnotiformes makes it the most common among the karyotyped species of the group. Comparisons of these karyotypes and the evolutionary history of the taxa indicate independent origins for their sex chromosomes systems. The recurrent emergence of the X1X1X2X2/X1X2Y system may represent sex chromosomes turnover events in Gymnotiformes.

  5. Infomechanical specializations for prey capture in knifefish (United States)

    Maciver, Malcolm; Patankar, Neelesh; Curet, Oscar; Shirgaonkar, Anup


    How does an animal's mechanics and its information acquisition system work together to solve crucial behavioral tasks? We examine this question for the black ghost weakly electric knifefish (Apteronotus albifrons), which is a leading model system for the study of sensory processing in vertebrates. These animals hunt at night by detecting perturbations of a self-generated electric field caused by prey. While the fish searches for prey, it pitches at 30 . Fully resolved Navier-Stokes simulations of their swimming, which occurs through undulations of a long ribbon-like fin along the bottom edge of the body, indicates that this configuration enables maximal thrust while minimizing pitch moment. However, pitching the body also increases drag. Our analysis of the sensory volume for detection of prey shows this volume to be similar to a cylinder around the body. Thus, pitching the body enables a greater swept volume of scanned fluid. Examining the mechanical and information acquisition demands on the animal in this task gives insight into how these sometimes conflicting demands are resolved.

  6. Mechanical properties of a bio-inspired robotic knifefish with an undulatory propulsor

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    Curet, Oscar M; Patankar, Neelesh A; MacIver, Malcolm A; Lauder, George V


    South American electric knifefish are a leading model system within neurobiology. Recent efforts have focused on understanding their biomechanics and relating this to their neural processing strategies. Knifefish swim by means of an undulatory fin that runs most of the length of their body, affixed to the belly. Propelling themselves with this fin enables them to keep their body relatively straight while swimming, enabling straightforward robotic implementation with a rigid hull. In this study, we examined the basic properties of undulatory swimming through use of a robot that was similar in some key respects to the knifefish. As we varied critical fin kinematic variables such as frequency, amplitude, and wavelength of sinusoidal traveling waves, we measured the force generated by the robot when it swam against a stationary sensor, and its velocity while swimming freely within a flow tunnel system. Our results show that there is an optimal operational region in the fin's kinematic parameter space. The optimal actuation parameters found for the robotic knifefish are similar to previously observed parameters for the black ghost knifefish, Apteronotus albifrons. Finally, we used our experimental results to show how the force generated by the robotic fin can be decomposed into thrust and drag terms. Our findings are useful for future bio-inspired underwater vehicles as well as for understanding the mechanics of knifefish swimming.

  7. Simulated predator stimuli reduce brain cell proliferation in two electric fish species, Brachyhypopomus gauderio and Apteronotus leptorhynchus. (United States)

    Dunlap, Kent D; Keane, Geoffrey; Ragazzi, Michael; Lasky, Elise; Salazar, Vielka L


    The brain structure of many animals is influenced by their predators, but the cellular processes underlying this brain plasticity are not well understood. Previous studies showed that electric fish ( Brachyhypopomus occidentalis ) naturally exposed to high predator ( Rhamdia quelen ) density and tail injury had reduced brain cell proliferation compared with individuals facing few predators and those with intact tails. However, these field studies described only correlations between predator exposure and cell proliferation. Here, we used a congener Brachyhypopomus gauderio and another electric fish Apteronotus leptorhynchus to experimentally test the hypothesis that exposure to a predator stimulus and tail injury causes alterations in brain cell proliferation. To simulate predator exposure, we either amputated the tail followed by short-term (1 day) or long-term (17-18 days) recovery or repeatedly chased intact fish with a plastic rod over a 7 day period. We measured cell proliferation (PCNA+ cell density) in the telencephalon and diencephalon, and plasma cortisol, which commonly mediates stress-induced changes in brain cell proliferation. In both species, either tail amputation or simulated predator chase decreased cell proliferation in the telencephalon in a manner resembling the effect of predators in the field. In A. leptorhynchus , cell proliferation decreased drastically in the short term after tail amputation and partially rebounded after long-term recovery. In B. gauderio , tail amputation elevated cortisol levels, but repeated chasing had no effect. In A. leptorhynchus , tail amputation elevated cortisol levels in the short term but not in the long term. Thus, predator stimuli can cause reductions in brain cell proliferation, but the role of cortisol is not clear. © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  8. Reproduction and feeding of the electric fish Brachyhypopomus gauderio (Gymnotiformes: Hypopomidae and the discussion of a life history pattern for gymnotiforms from high latitudes.

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    Julia Giora

    Full Text Available The reproductive biology and feeding habits of the electric fish Brachyhypopomus gauderio were studied. The species has seasonal reproductive behavior, with breeding occurring during the Southern Hemisphere spring and summer, and having a positive relation with the photoperiod variation. Brachyhypopomus gauderio was defined as a fractional spawner, with low relative fecundity and high first maturation size. Sexual dimorphism was registered, males undergoing hypertrophy of the distal portion of caudal filament. The results on reproductive biology herein obtained are in agreement with data concerning gymnotiforms from Southern Brazil and Uruguay, pointing to an ecological pattern for the species from high latitudes, differing from species with tropical distribution. According to the analysis of the food items, B. gauderio feed mainly on autochthonous insects, likewise the other gymnotiforms previously investigated, leading to conclude that there is no variation on the diet of the species of the order related to climatic conditions or even to habitat of occurrence.

  9. The effects of elevated environmental CO2 on nitrite uptake in the air-breathing clown knifefish, Chitala ornata

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    Le Thi Hong Gam; Jensen, Frank Bo; Do Thi Thanh Huong


    hypercapnia) and nitrite for 96 h. Blood was sampled to measure acid-base status, haemoglobin derivatives and plasma ions. Plasma nitrite increased for 48 h, but levels stayed below the exposure concentration, and subsequently decreased as a result of nitrite detoxification to nitrate. The total uptake......Nitrite and carbon dioxide are common environmental contaminants in the intensive aquaculture ponds used to farm clown knifefish (Chitala ornata) in the Mekong delta, Vietnam. Here we tested the hypothesis that hypercapnia reduces nitrite uptake across the gills, because pH regulation will reduce...... chloride uptake and hence nitrite uptake as the two ions compete for the same transport route via the branchial HCO3-/Cl- exchanger. Fish fitted with arterial catheters were exposed to normocapnic/normoxic water (control), nitrite (1 mM), hypercapnia (21 mmHg CO2), or combined hypercapnia (acclimated...

  10. The contribution of air breathing to aerobic scope and exercise performance in the banded knifefish Gymnotus carapo L

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    McKenzie, David J.; Steffensen, John Fleng; Taylor, Edwin W.


    , these individuals achieved a U(crit) of 2.0±0.2 BL s(-1) and an AMR of 368±24 mg kg(-1) h(-1) by gill ventilation alone. In normoxia, therefore, the contribution of air breathing to scope and exercise was entirely facultative. In aquatic hypoxia (P(O(2))=4 kPa) with access to normoxic air, the knifefish achieved...... a U(crit) of 2.0±0.1 BL s(-1) and an AMR of 338±29 mg kg(-1) h(-1), similar to aquatic normoxia, but with 55±5% of AMR derived from air breathing. Indeed, f(AB) was higher than in normoxia at all swimming speeds, with a profound exponential increase during exercise. If the knifefish were denied access...... to air in hypoxia, U(crit) declined to 1.2±0.1 BL s(-1) and AMR declined to 199±29 mg kg(-1) h(-1). Therefore, air breathing allowed the knifefish to avoid limitations to aerobic scope and exercise performance in aquatic hypoxia....

  11. Extreme nitrite tolerance in the clown knifefish Chitala ornata is linked to up-regulation of methaemoglobin reductase activity

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    Le Thi Hong Gam; Jensen, Frank Bo; Damsgaard, Christian


    and fell towards control values during the last half of the exposure period. Plasma nitrate, in contrast, rose continuously, reflecting detoxification of nitrite to nitrate. MetHb generated from the reaction between nitrite and erythrocyte Hb reached 38% at day 2, but then decreased to 17% by the end......The clown knifefish is a facultative air breather, which is widely farmed in freshwater ponds in Vietnam. Here we report a very high nitrite tolerance (96h LC50 of 7.82mM) in this species and examine the effects of 1mM (LC5) and 2.5mM (LC10) ambient nitrite on haemoglobin (Hb) derivatives......, electrolyte levels, acid-base status, and total body water content during 7days of exposure. Furthermore, we tested the hypothesis that erythrocyte methaemoglobin (metHb) reductase activity is upregulated by nitrite exposure. Plasma nitrite levels increased for 2-3days but stayed below environmental levels...

  12. Evolution of electric communication signals in the South American ghost knifefishes (Gymnotiformes: Apteronotidae): A phylogenetic comparative study using a sequence-based phylogeny. (United States)

    Smith, Adam R; Proffitt, Melissa R; Ho, Winnie W; Mullaney, Claire B; Maldonado-Ocampo, Javier A; Lovejoy, Nathan R; Alves-Gomes, José A; Smith, G Troy


    The electric communication signals of weakly electric ghost knifefishes (Gymnotiformes: Apteronotidae) provide a valuable model system for understanding the evolution and physiology of behavior. Apteronotids produce continuous wave-type electric organ discharges (EODs) that are used for electrolocation and communication. The frequency and waveform of EODs, as well as the structure of transient EOD modulations (chirps), vary substantially across species. Understanding how these signals have evolved, however, has been hampered by the lack of a well-supported phylogeny for this family. We constructed a molecular phylogeny for the Apteronotidae by using sequence data from three genes (cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1, recombination activating gene 2, and cytochrome oxidase B) in 32 species representing 13 apteronotid genera. This phylogeny and an extensive database of apteronotid signals allowed us to examine signal evolution by using ancestral state reconstruction (ASR) and phylogenetic generalized least squares (PGLS) models. Our molecular phylogeny largely agrees with another recent sequence-based phylogeny and identified five robust apteronotid clades: (i) Sternarchorhamphus+Orthosternarchus, (ii) Adontosternarchus, (iii) Apteronotus+Parapteronotus, (iv) Sternarchorhynchus, and (v) a large clade including Porotergus, 'Apteronotus', Compsaraia, Sternarchogiton, Sternarchella, and Magosternarchus. We analyzed novel chirp recordings from two apteronotid species (Orthosternarchus tamandua and Sternarchorhynchus mormyrus), and combined data from these species with that from previously recorded species in our phylogenetic analyses. Some signal parameters in O. tamandua were plesiomorphic (e.g., low frequency EODs and chirps with little frequency modulation that nevertheless interrupt the EOD), suggesting that ultra-high frequency EODs and "big" chirps evolved after apteronotids diverged from other gymnotiforms. In contrast to previous studies, our PGLS analyses using the

  13. Previously undescribed dental arrangement among electric knifefishes, with comments on the taxonomic and conservation status of Tembeassu marauna Triques (Otophysi: Gymnotiformes: Apteronotidae

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    Ricardo Campos-da-Paz

    Full Text Available Recent study of the type-material of Tembeassu marauna, a poorly-known species currently represented in collections only by its holotype (male and paratypes (male and female, all collected forty years ago at the Ilha Solteira reservoir area, upper Paraná river region, revealed an unique pattern of dental arrangement among members of the order Gymnotiformes. This autapomorphic condition refers to a patch of around 15 elongate conical, extra teeth associated to soft tissue, and disposed inside the mouth on a restricted area at the roof of oral cavity and located just in front of the premaxillary bones (although clearly apart from those. Besides this obvious feature, two additional conditions are recognized as possibly unique for T. marauna, which refer to the conspicuous "fleshy" (that is, not presenting subjacent bony structures anterior elongations of the upper and lower jaws. Some additional osteological features identified on radiographs taken from the type material belonging to that species are presented. A brief discussion is furnished, indicating that the recent inclusion of the nominal Tembeassu marauna in Apteronotus La Cépède is not supported by currently available evidence. Thus, it is herein suggested that the species is kept in it own separate genus within the Apteronotidae. Finally, it is argued that T. marauna possibly represents an endangered species at the upper Paraná river region.

  14. Undulating fins produce off-axis thrust and flow structures. (United States)

    Neveln, Izaak D; Bale, Rahul; Bhalla, Amneet Pal Singh; Curet, Oscar M; Patankar, Neelesh A; MacIver, Malcolm A


    While wake structures of many forms of swimming and flying are well characterized, the wake generated by a freely swimming undulating fin has not yet been analyzed. These elongated fins allow fish to achieve enhanced agility exemplified by the forward, backward and vertical swimming capabilities of knifefish, and also have potential applications in the design of more maneuverable underwater vehicles. We present the flow structure of an undulating robotic fin model using particle image velocimetry to measure fluid velocity fields in the wake. We supplement the experimental robotic work with high-fidelity computational fluid dynamics, simulating the hydrodynamics of both a virtual fish, whose fin kinematics and fin plus body morphology are measured from a freely swimming knifefish, and a virtual rendering of our robot. Our results indicate that a series of linked vortex tubes is shed off the long edge of the fin as the undulatory wave travels lengthwise along the fin. A jet at an oblique angle to the fin is associated with the successive vortex tubes, propelling the fish forward. The vortex structure bears similarity to the linked vortex ring structure trailing the oscillating caudal fin of a carangiform swimmer, though the vortex rings are distorted because of the undulatory kinematics of the elongated fin.

  15. Signal modulation as a mechanism for handicap disposal (United States)

    Gavassa, Sat; Silva, Ana C.; Gonzalez, Emmanuel; Stoddard, Philip K.


    Signal honesty may be compromised when heightened competition provides incentive for signal exaggeration. Some degree of honesty might be maintained by intrinsic handicap costs on signalling or through imposition of extrinsic costs, such as social punishment of low quality cheaters. Thus, theory predicts a delicate balance between signal enhancement and signal reliability that varies with degree of social competition, handicap cost, and social cost. We investigated whether male sexual signals of the electric fish Brachyhypopomus gauderio would become less reliable predictors of body length when competition provides incentives for males to boost electric signal amplitude. As expected, social competition under natural field conditions and in controlled lab experiments drove males to enhance their signals. However, signal enhancement improved the reliability of the information conveyed by the signal, as revealed in the tightening of the relationship between signal amplitude and body length. Signal augmentation in male B. gauderio was independent of body length, and thus appeared not to be curtailed through punishment of low quality (small) individuals. Rather, all individuals boosted their signals under high competition, but those whose signals were farthest from the predicted value under low competition boosted signal amplitude the most. By elimination, intrinsic handicap cost of signal production, rather than extrinsic social cost, appears to be the basis for the unexpected reinforcement of electric signal honesty under social competition. Signal modulation may provide its greatest advantage to the signaller as a mechanism for handicap disposal under low competition rather than as a mechanism for exaggeration of quality under high competition. PMID:22665940

  16. Energetic cost of communication. (United States)

    Stoddard, Philip K; Salazar, Vielka L


    Communication signals may be energetically expensive or inexpensive to produce, depending on the function of the signal and the competitive nature of the communication system. Males of sexually selected species may produce high-energy advertisement signals, both to enhance detectability and to signal their size and body condition. Accordingly, the proportion of the energy budget allocated to signal production ranges from almost nothing for many signals to somewhere in excess of 50% for acoustic signals in short-lived sexually selected species. Recent data from gymnotiform electric fish reveal mechanisms that regulate energy allocated to sexual advertisement signals through dynamical remodeling of the excitable membranes in the electric organ. Further, males of the short-lived sexually selected species, Brachyhypopomus gauderio, trade off among different metabolic compartments, allocating energy to signal production while reducing energy used in other metabolic functions. Female B. gauderio, by contrast, do not trade off energy between signaling and other functions. To fuel energetically expensive signal production, we expect a continuum of strategies to be adopted by animals of different life history strategies. Future studies should explore the relation between life history and energy allocation trade-offs.

  17. An electric-eel-inspired soft power source from stacked hydrogels. (United States)

    Schroeder, Thomas B H; Guha, Anirvan; Lamoureux, Aaron; VanRenterghem, Gloria; Sept, David; Shtein, Max; Yang, Jerry; Mayer, Michael


    Progress towards the integration of technology into living organisms requires electrical power sources that are biocompatible, mechanically flexible, and able to harness the chemical energy available inside biological systems. Conventional batteries were not designed with these criteria in mind. The electric organ of the knifefish Electrophorus electricus (commonly known as the electric eel) is, however, an example of an electrical power source that operates within biological constraints while featuring power characteristics that include peak potential differences of 600 volts and currents of 1 ampere. Here we introduce an electric-eel-inspired power concept that uses gradients of ions between miniature polyacrylamide hydrogel compartments bounded by a repeating sequence of cation- and anion-selective hydrogel membranes. The system uses a scalable stacking or folding geometry that generates 110 volts at open circuit or 27 milliwatts per square metre per gel cell upon simultaneous, self-registered mechanical contact activation of thousands of gel compartments in series while circumventing power dissipation before contact. Unlike typical batteries, these systems are soft, flexible, transparent, and potentially biocompatible. These characteristics suggest that artificial electric organs could be used to power next-generation implant materials such as pacemakers, implantable sensors, or prosthetic devices in hybrids of living and non-living systems.

  18. An electric-eel-inspired soft power source from stacked hydrogels (United States)

    Schroeder, Thomas B. H.; Guha, Anirvan; Lamoureux, Aaron; Vanrenterghem, Gloria; Sept, David; Shtein, Max; Yang, Jerry; Mayer, Michael


    Progress towards the integration of technology into living organisms requires electrical power sources that are biocompatible, mechanically flexible, and able to harness the chemical energy available inside biological systems. Conventional batteries were not designed with these criteria in mind. The electric organ of the knifefish Electrophorus electricus (commonly known as the electric eel) is, however, an example of an electrical power source that operates within biological constraints while featuring power characteristics that include peak potential differences of 600 volts and currents of 1 ampere. Here we introduce an electric-eel-inspired power concept that uses gradients of ions between miniature polyacrylamide hydrogel compartments bounded by a repeating sequence of cation- and anion-selective hydrogel membranes. The system uses a scalable stacking or folding geometry that generates 110 volts at open circuit or 27 milliwatts per square metre per gel cell upon simultaneous, self-registered mechanical contact activation of thousands of gel compartments in series while circumventing power dissipation before contact. Unlike typical batteries, these systems are soft, flexible, transparent, and potentially biocompatible. These characteristics suggest that artificial electric organs could be used to power next-generation implant materials such as pacemakers, implantable sensors, or prosthetic devices in hybrids of living and non-living systems.

  19. Mutually opposing forces during locomotion can eliminate the tradeoff between maneuverability and stability (United States)

    Cowan, Noah; Sefati, Shahin; Neveln, Izaak; Roth, Eatai; Mitchell, Terence; Snyder, James; Maciver, Malcolm; Fortune, Eric

    A surprising feature of animal locomotion is that organisms typically produce substantial forces in directions other than what is necessary to move the animal through its environment, such as perpendicular to, or counter to, the direction of travel. The effect of these forces has been difficult to observe because they are often mutually opposing and therefore cancel out. Using a combination of robotic physical modeling, computational modeling, and biological experiments, we discovered that these forces serve an important role: to simplify and enhance the control of locomotion. Specifically, we examined a well-suited model system, the glass knifefish Eigenmannia virescens, which produces mutually opposing forces during a hovering behavior. By systematically varying the locomotor parameters of our biomimetic robot, and measuring the resulting forces and kinematics, we demonstrated that the production and differential control of mutually opposing forces is a strategy that generates passive stabilization while simultaneously enhancing maneuverability. Mutually opposing forces during locomotion are widespread across animal taxa, and these results indicate that such forces can eliminate the tradeoff between stability and maneuverability, thereby simplifying robotic and neural control.

  20. Revision of Gymnotus (Gymnotiformes: Gymnotidae) from the Upper Madeira Basin of Bolivia and Peru, with descriptions of two new species. (United States)

    Craig, Jack M; Correa-roldÁn, Vanessa; Ortega, HernÁn; Crampton, William G R; Albert, James S


    Banded Knifefishes (Gymnotus, Gymnotidae) comprise the most species-rich genus of Neotropical electric fishes, with 41 species currently described from throughout the humid Neotropics, from Mexico to Argentina. Despite substantial alpha-taxonomic work in recent years, the diversity of Gymnotus in some regions remains poorly understood. Here we describe the Gymnotus fauna of the Upper Madeira basin of Bolivia and Peru from examination of more than 240 adult specimens. Species are delimited and described using body proportions (traditional morphometrics), fin-ray, squamation and laterosensory-pore counts (meristics), quantitative shape differences (geometric morphometrics), osteological traits, and color patterns. Comparisons of standardized linear measures as well as multivariate statistical methods validate the presence in the Upper Madeira basin of three previously described species, two with wide-spread geographic distributions throughout Greater Amazonia (G. carapo and G. coropinae), and one (G. chaviro) endemic to southwestern Amazonia. We also diagnose and describe two new species that are endemic to the Upper Madeira basin: G. eyra n. sp., morphologically most similar to G. mamiraua from lowland Amazonia, and G. riberalta n. sp., morphologically most similar to G. pantanal from the Paraguay-Paraná basin. The five Gymnotus species from the Upper Madeira basin are not monophyletic, each species being more closely related to a different species from another region; i.e. the Gymnotus species from the Upper Madeira represents a polyphyletic assemblage. These descriptions to 43 the number of valid Gymnotus species.

  1. Separability of drag and thrust in undulatory animals and machines (United States)

    Bale, Rahul; Shirgaonkar, Anup A.; Neveln, Izaak D.; Bhalla, Amneet Pal Singh; Maciver, Malcolm A.; Patankar, Neelesh A.


    For nearly a century, researchers have tried to understand the swimming of aquatic animals in terms of a balance between the forward thrust from swimming movements and drag on the body. Prior approaches have failed to provide a separation of these two forces for undulatory swimmers such as lamprey and eels, where most parts of the body are simultaneously generating drag and thrust. We nonetheless show that this separation is possible, and delineate its fundamental basis in undulatory swimmers. Our approach unifies a vast diversity of undulatory aquatic animals (anguilliform, sub-carangiform, gymnotiform, bal-istiform, rajiform) and provides design principles for highly agile bioinspired underwater vehicles. This approach has practical utility within biology as well as engineering. It is a predictive tool for use in understanding the role of the mechanics of movement in the evolutionary emergence of morphological features relating to locomotion. For example, we demonstrate that the drag-thrust separation framework helps to predict the observed height of the ribbon fin of electric knifefish, a diverse group of neotropical fish which are an important model system in sensory neurobiology. We also show how drag-thrust separation leads to models that can predict the swimming velocity of an organism or a robotic vehicle.

  2. Hydrodynamic aspects of thrust generation in gymnotiform swimming (United States)

    Shirgaonkar, Anup A.; Curet, Oscar M.; Patankar, Neelesh A.; Maciver, Malcolm A.


    The primary propulsor in gymnotiform swimmers is a fin running along most of the ventral midline of the fish. The fish propagates traveling waves along this ribbon fin to generate thrust. This unique mode of thrust generation gives these weakly electric fish great maneuverability cluttered spaces. To understand the mechanical basis of gymnotiform propulsion, we investigated the hydrodynamics of a model ribbon-fin of an adult black ghost knifefish using high-resolution numerical experiments. We found that the principal mechanism of thrust generation is a central jet imparting momentum to the fluid with associated vortex rings near the free edge of the fin. The high-fidelity simulations also reveal secondary vortex rings potentially useful in rapid sideways maneuvers. We obtained the scaling of thrust with respect to the traveling wave kinematic parameters. Using a fin-plate model for a fish, we also discuss improvements to Lighthill's inviscid theory for gymnotiform and balistiform modes in terms of thrust magnitude, viscous drag on the body, and momentum enhancement.

  3. Conflicts between sensory performance and locomotion in weakly electric fish (United States)

    Maciver, Malcolm; Shirgaonkar, Anup; Patankar, Neelesh


    The knifefish Apteronotus albifrons hunts for small water insects at night using a self-generated electric field to perceive its world. Using this unique sensory adaptation, the fish senses prey that are near its body with a detection volume that approximates a cylinder that has a length ten times its radius, similar to the fish's elongated body plan. If the fish swims straight, then the back portion of the actively generated detection volume is scanning fluid already scanned by the front portion, but the energy expended to overcome drag is minimized. If it swims with the body pitched, then the rate of volume scanned for prey is increased, but the energy needed to overcome body drag is also increased. In this work we examine the compromise the fish makes between minimizing energy in overcoming drag and maximizing scan rate. We use computational fluid dynamics simulations to assess the impact of changes in body pitch angle on drag, and computational neuroscience simulations to assess the shape and size of the prey detection volume and how body angle changes the scan volume rate.

  4. Food restriction promotes signaling effort in response to social challenge in a short-lived electric fish. (United States)

    Gavassa, Sat; Stoddard, Philip K


    Vertebrates exposed to stressful conditions release glucocorticoids to sustain energy expenditure. In most species elevated glucocorticoids inhibit reproduction. However individuals with limited remaining reproductive opportunities cannot afford to forgo reproduction and should resist glucocorticoid-mediated inhibition of reproductive behavior. The electric fish Brachyhypopomus gauderio has a single breeding season in its lifetime, thus we expect males to resist glucocorticoid-mediated inhibition of their sexual advertisement signals. We studied stress resistance in male B. gauderio (i) by examining the effect of exogenous cortisol administration on the signal waveform and (ii) by investigating the effect of food limitation on androgen and cortisol levels, the amplitude of the electric signal waveform, the responsiveness of the electric signal waveform to social challenge, and the amount of feeding activity. Exogenous cortisol administration did reduce signal amplitude and pulse duration, but endogenous cortisol levels did not rise with food limitation or social challenge. Despite food limitation, males responded to social challenges by further increasing androgen levels and enhancing the amplitude and duration of their electric signal waveforms. Food-restricted males increased androgen levels and signal pulse duration more than males fed ad libitum. Socially challenged fish increased food consumption, probably to compensate for their elevated energy expenditure. Previous studies showed that socially challenged males of this species simultaneously elevate testosterone and cortisol in proportion to signal amplitude. Thus, B. gauderio appears to protect its cortisol-sensitive electric advertisement signal by increasing food intake, limiting cortisol release, and offsetting signal reduction from cortisol with signal-enhancing androgens. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  5. Coding conspecific identity and motion in the electric sense.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Na Yu

    Full Text Available Interactions among animals can result in complex sensory signals containing a variety of socially relevant information, including the number, identity, and relative motion of conspecifics. How the spatiotemporal properties of such evolving naturalistic signals are encoded is a key question in sensory neuroscience. Here, we present results from experiments and modeling that address this issue in the context of the electric sense, which combines the spatial aspects of vision and touch, with the temporal aspects of audition. Wave-type electric fish, such as the brown ghost knifefish, Apteronotus leptorhynchus, used in this study, are uniquely identified by the frequency of their electric organ discharge (EOD. Multiple beat frequencies arise from the superposition of the EODs of each fish. We record the natural electrical signals near the skin of a "receiving" fish that are produced by stationary and freely swimming conspecifics. Using spectral analysis, we find that the primary beats, and the secondary beats between them ("beats of beats", can be greatly influenced by fish swimming; the resulting motion produces low-frequency envelopes that broaden all the beat peaks and reshape the "noise floor". We assess the consequences of this motion on sensory coding using a model electroreceptor. We show that the primary and secondary beats are encoded in the afferent spike train, but that motion acts to degrade this encoding. We also simulate the response of a realistic population of receptors, and find that it can encode the motion envelope well, primarily due to the receptors with lower firing rates. We discuss the implications of our results for the identification of conspecifics through specific beat frequencies and its possible hindrance by active swimming.

  6. Fish and chips: implementation of a neural network model into computer chips to maximize swimming efficiency in autonomous underwater vehicles. (United States)

    Blake, R W; Ng, H; Chan, K H S; Li, J


    Recent developments in the design and propulsion of biomimetic autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) have focused on boxfish as models (e.g. Deng and Avadhanula 2005 Biomimetic micro underwater vehicle with oscillating fin propulsion: system design and force measurement Proc. 2005 IEEE Int. Conf. Robot. Auto. (Barcelona, Spain) pp 3312-7). Whilst such vehicles have many potential advantages in operating in complex environments (e.g. high manoeuvrability and stability), limited battery life and payload capacity are likely functional disadvantages. Boxfish employ undulatory median and paired fins during routine swimming which are characterized by high hydromechanical Froude efficiencies (approximately 0.9) at low forward speeds. Current boxfish-inspired vehicles are propelled by a low aspect ratio, 'plate-like' caudal fin (ostraciiform tail) which can be shown to operate at a relatively low maximum Froude efficiency (approximately 0.5) and is mainly employed as a rudder for steering and in rapid swimming bouts (e.g. escape responses). Given this and the fact that bioinspired engineering designs are not obligated to wholly duplicate a biological model, computer chips were developed using a multilayer perception neural network model of undulatory fin propulsion in the knifefish Xenomystus nigri that would potentially allow an AUV to achieve high optimum values of propulsive efficiency at any given forward velocity, giving a minimum energy drain on the battery. We envisage that externally monitored information on flow velocity (sensory system) would be conveyed to the chips residing in the vehicle's control unit, which in turn would signal the locomotor unit to adopt kinematics (e.g. fin frequency, amplitude) associated with optimal propulsion efficiency. Power savings could protract vehicle operational life and/or provide more power to other functions (e.g. communications).

  7. Simultaneous analysis of five molecular markers provides a well-supported phylogenetic hypothesis for the living bony-tongue fishes (Osteoglossomorpha: Teleostei). (United States)

    Lavoué, Sébastien; Sullivan, John P


    Fishes of the Superorder Osteoglossomorpha (the "bonytongues") constitute a morphologically heterogeneous group of basal teleosts, including highly derived subgroups such as African electric fishes, the African butterfly fish, and Old World knifefishes. Lack of consensus among hypotheses of osteoglossomorph relationships advanced during the past 30 years may be due in part to the difficulty of identifying shared derived characters among the morphologically differentiated extant families of this group. In this study, we present a novel phylogenetic hypothesis for this group, based on the analysis of more than 4000 characters from five molecular markers (the mitochondrial cytochrome b, 12S and 16S rRNA genes, and the nuclear genes RAG2 and MLL). Our taxonomic sampling includes one representative of each extant non-mormyrid osteoglossomorph genus, one representative for the monophyletic family Mormyridae, and four outgroup taxa within the basal Teleostei. Maximum parsimony analysis of combined and equally weighted characters from the five molecular markers and Bayesian analysis provide a single, well-supported, hypothesis of osteoglossomorph interrelationships and show the group to be monophyletic. The tree topology is the following: (Hiodon alosoides, (Pantodon buchholzi, (((Osteoglossum bicirrhosum, Scleropages sp.), (Arapaima gigas, Heterotis niloticus)), ((Gymnarchus niloticus, Ivindomyrus opdenboschi), ((Notopterus notopterus, Chitala ornata), (Xenomystus nigri, Papyrocranus afer)))))). We compare our results with previously published phylogenetic hypotheses based on morpho-anatomical data. Additionally, we explore the consequences of the long terminal branch length for the taxon Pantodon buchholzi in our phylogenetic reconstruction and we use the obtained phylogenetic tree to reconstruct the evolutionary history of electroreception in the Notopteroidei.