Segregation of electro- and mechanoreceptive inputs to the elasmobranch medulla. Academic Article uri icon


  • The anterior lateral line nerve of the thornback ray consists of fibers that innervate head electroreceptive ampullary organs and mechanoreceptive neuromasts. As the anterior lateral line nerve enters the medulla it divides into dorsal and ventral roots. Single unit responses of dorsal root fibers to electric field and mechanical stimuli indicate that the dorsal root consists only of ampullary fibers, whereas the ventral root consists only of mechanoreceptove fibers. The dorsal and ventral roots of the anterior lateral line nerve terminate in the dorsal and medial octavolateralis nuclei respectively, indicating that the dorsal nucleus is the primary electroreceptive nucleus of the elasmobranch medulla and the medial nucleus is the mechanoreceptive nucleus. Averaged evoked potential responses to electric field stimuli could be recorded from the dorsal but not the medial nucleus, further evidence that the dorsal nucleus is the electroreceptive nucleus. A second evoked response to electric field stimuli was elicited from the lateral reticular nucleus, suggesting that the reticular formation may be a secondary target of efferents of the dorsal octavolateralis nucleus. A dorsal octavolateralis nucleus exists not only in elasmobranchs, but also in agnathan, chondrostean, dipnoan, and crossopterygian fishes, suggesting that all of these taxa are also electroreceptive.

publication date

  • August 18, 1980