Inductive neural telemetry was used to record from microwire electrodes chronically implanted into the anterior lateral line nerve of the oyster toadfish, Opsanus tau (L.). The lateral lines of free-ranging toadfish were stimulated by the swimming movements of a prey fish (Fundulus heteroclitus), and the corresponding neural activity was quantified. Both spontaneously active and silent afferent fibers experienced an increase in neural firing as the prey approached the lateral line. Activity was evoked when the prey fish approached to within 8-12 cm of the neuromast, with increases in nerve firing rates directly correlated with diminishing distance. Thus, adult toadfish (28 cm standard length; 33 cm total length) were only able to detect mobile prey that approached within approximately 40% of their body length. Both spontaneously active and silent afferent fibers also experienced a dramatic increase in firing during predatory strikes, indicating that the fibers were not inhibited during rapid body movement. This study investigates, for the first time, the neural response of the anterior lateral line to prey stimuli in free-ranging fish.
- Lateral line
- Opsanus tau