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Mechanisms of Signal Diversity in Communication (image 2)

June 26, 2012
A Brienomyrus brachyistius, commonly known as the black whale. A weakly electric fish native to Africa, B. brachyistius communicate with each others by means of electric discharges whose waveform, or shape, allow it to recognize fish of the same species, including individual fish. These fish were the subject of research by Bruce Carlson, Ph.D., an assistant professor of biology at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., who is studying this African family of weakly electric fish. Carlson found that different species in the mormyrid family communicate using different electric signals, which identifies the different species. When seeking a mate they can find partners of their own kind by listening for their preferred electric dialect. To learn more about Carlson's research, supported by the National Science Foundation, visit his website Here. [See related image Here.] Credit: Robert Lewis, IT Catalysts, Inc.