Observations on the electric organ discharge of two skate species (Chondrichthyes: Rajidae) and its relationship to behaviour

Abstract

The electric organ discharge (EOD) of the little skate,Raja erinacea and winter skate,R. ocellata was recorded both from isolated individuals and from small groups using methods that allowed for the identification of individuals producing EODs. Pulse duration, train lengh, frequency, and pulse patterns are characterized and correlated with behaviour. The two species,R. erinacea andR. ocellata, were found to have characteristically different EOD pulse durations of 70 ms and 217 ms respectively. Isolated skates rarely discharged whereas groups of skates were found to discharge regularly. The EOD was evoked by tactile prodding, physical contact with other skates and electrical stimulation. Skates also discharged reflexively in response to an artificially induced head-positive DC stimulus, sine wave and monopolar square pulses. During approach and contact, skates responded to each other with interacting EOD displays. EOD interaction and pulse duration differences between other species suggest a possible intra-specific communication function of the EOD inRaja.

DOI: 10.1007/BF00005295

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Cite this paper

@article{Bratton2004ObservationsOT, title={Observations on the electric organ discharge of two skate species (Chondrichthyes: Rajidae) and its relationship to behaviour}, author={Bradford O. Bratton and Joseph Ayers}, journal={Environmental Biology of Fishes}, year={2004}, volume={20}, pages={241-254} }