Joachim Mogdans, Institute of Zoology, College of Bonn, Meckenheimer Allee 169, Poppelsdorfer Schloß, 53115 Bonn, Germany type of.

You are watching: What is the function of the lateral line

Corresponding Author

Institute of Zoology, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany


Joachim Mogdans, Institute of Zoology, College of Bonn, Meckenheimer Allee 169, Poppelsdorfer Schloß, 53115 Bonn, Germany.

Please review our Terms and also Conditions of Use and also check box below to share full-text version of post.
Shareable Link

Use the link listed below to share a full-text version of this short article with your friends and colleagues. Find Out even more.

Fishes are able to detect and perceive the hydrodynamic and physical environment they inhalittle and process this sensory indevelopment to guide the resultant behaviour with their mechanosensory lateral-line mechanism. This sensory system consists of up to several thousand neuromasts dispersed throughout the whole body of the animal. Using the lateral-line device, fishes perceive water motions of both biotic and abiotic origin. The anatomy of the lateral-line mechanism varies considerably between and within species. It is still a matter of dispute regarding just how different lateral-line anatomies reflect adaptations to the hydrodynamic conditions to which fishes are exposed. While there are many type of accounts of lateral-line device adaptations for the detection of hydrodynamic signals in distinctive behavioural contexts and environments for certain fish species, there is just limited understanding on exactly how the setting impacts intra and interspecific variations in lateral-line morphology. Fishes live in a broad array of habitats via extremely diverse hydrodynamic conditions, from pools and lakes and progressively moving deep-sea curleas to unstable and also fast running rivers and unstable coastal surf regions. Perhaps surprisingly, thorough characterisations of the hydrodynamic properties of herbal water bodies are rare. In particular, bit is well-known around the spatio-tempdental fads of the small-scale water motions that are many relevant for many fish behaviours, making it tough to relate ecological stimuli to sensory device morphology and attribute. Humans use bodies of water generally for recreational, commercial and also domestic purposes and in doing so often alter the aquatic setting, such as through the release of toxicants, the blocking of rivers by dams and acoustic noise emerging from watercrafts and also construction sites. Although the effects of anthropogenic interferences are often not well understood or quantified, it seems obvious that they readjust not just water quality and also appearance yet additionally, they alter hydrodynamic conditions and therefore the kinds of hydrodynamic stimuli acting on fishes. To day, little bit is known about exactly how anthropogenic influences on the aquatic atmosphere affect the morphology and also attribute of sensory systems in basic and the lateral-line mechanism in certain. This review starts out by briefly describing normally emerging hydrodynamic stimuli and also the morphology and also neurobiology of the fish lateral-line device. In the major component, adaptations of the fish lateral-line device for the detection and evaluation of water motions in the time of miscellaneous behaviours are presented. Finally, anthropogenic influences on the aquatic environment and also potential results on the fish lateral-line device are questioned.


Sensory ecology is a self-control that focuses on the examine of pet sensory systems in order to understand also exactly how eco-friendly indevelopment is regarded, how this indevelopment is processed and also exactly how this affects interactions in between the pet and its setting (Dangles et al., 2009). Animals live in distinct habitats that are governed by specific physical relationships and this provides constraints for the development of physically based sensory devices. The understanding of the interplay between physical ethics and sensory system morphology and also function is crucial to the question whether particular functions of a sensory device are of adaptive value to the individual.

The lateral-line mechanism is a sensory mechanism uncovered in fishes and aquatic amphibians. With the lateral-line device, fishes meacertain the family member motions between their body and the surrounding water at each of as much as several thousand sensory organs, the neuromasts (Dijkgraaf, 1952, 1963). To understand also the practical meaning and any potential adaptations of the lateral-line mechanism to the sensory environment, it is crucial to know the physical properties of biologically pertinent and irpertinent stimuli, the anatomical organisation of the lateral-line device in different fishes, the neurophysiological basis of ethics of operation and also the behavioural conmessage in which the lateral-line device is provided.


Our expertise of normally occurring biologically relevant or irpertinent lateral-line stimuli is still exceptionally restricted. Measuring herbal stimuli in field studies is not a simple task. Pressure waves can be taped through hydrophones, which are valuable for gross measurements in both the laboratory and also area atmospheres, however primarily they are also massive to meacertain the small-range push alters that are pertinent for the lateral-line device (Mogdans & Bleckmann, 1998). Hot-wire anemometers or laser-Doppler anemometers are much much better suited to meacertain these small-scale water activities (Coombs et al., 1989a; Blickhan et al., 1992); however, they meacertain flow velocity just at a solitary point in room, i.e., they cannot administer spatial indevelopment. In addition, they are extremely vulnerable and expensive and also thus not well suited for area occupational. Visualisation of spatio-temporal patterns of water flow in 2 or even 3 dimensions deserve to be completed via pwrite-up photo velocimeattempt (Adrian, 2005; Adrian & Westerweel, 2011), which reveals indevelopment about flow direction, velocity and also vorticity (Hanke et al., 2000). This, yet, needs the seeding of the water through huge amounts of tiny, neutrally buoyant glass or polyamide pposts that are difficult, if not impossible, to remove when dispensed in the natural environment.

Hydrodynamic stimuli that can be detected by the lateral-line system can take place at the water surchallenge or in midwater (Figure 1). Surface waves of biotic beginning are for example brought about by terrestrial insects falling right into the water or by aquatic animals contacting the water–air interconfront in order to breathe or feed (Bleckmann, 1988). Subsurchallenge water disturbances may be brought about by swimming or opercular (respiratory) motions of fishes or other aquatic pets. Such stimuli have the right to be supplied in many methods. Flow fields created by fish during swimming can be provided to acquire indevelopment about the setting (von Campenhausen et al., 1981; Hassan, 1985, 1986) and also oscillatory stimuli created by body vibrations may carry out necessary interaction signals during social behaviour (Satou et al., 1991, 1994). Then aobtain, self-created stimuli have the right to be disbeneficial for a fish because they allow for detection by predators and also might additionally interfere with the detection of potentially appropriate novel stimuli. Strategies to prevent the generation of self-produced water motions have actually been oboffered in particular fish behaviours. For instance, black carp Mylopharyngodon piceus (Richardkid 1846) (Xenocyprodidae), spfinish substantially less time moving and exhibit an in its entirety shorter total distance of activity in the visibility of predatory snakehead Channa micropeltes (Cuvier 1831) (Channidae; Flavor et al. 2017).


Instances of biotic water movements: water surconfront waves created, from optimal to bottom, by (a) wind, (b) the clawed frog Xenopus laevis, (c) Carassius auratus and (d) the fly Calliphora vicina. Water motions were tape-recorded with a laser-Doppler anemometer (from Bleckmann et al., 1989); subsurconfront water activities generated by, (e) the ostracod Tetrdeium crassum, (f) the amphipod Paradstudy houtete (from Montgomery, 1989), (g) male and also (h) female spawning Oncorhynchus nerka (from Satou et al., 1991). Water activities from ostracods and amphipods were recorded through an optoelectric transducer and also those from salmon via a piezoelectrical acceleration transducer
The various hydrodynamic stimuli created by abiotic resources are mainly pertained to as unwanted background noise. Generally, noise is characterized as unwanted sound (defined in regards to sound pressure) that is judged to be unpleasant, loud or disruptive to hearing. For the lateral-line system, noise have the right to be identified as any type of kind of water activity (described either in regards to particle movement or press gradient) that interferes with and even impairs the detection of biologically even more appropriate water activities. For example, wind or leaves falling onto the water create surchallenge waves of abiotic beginning that may impede the detection of surchallenge waves produced by pets. Below the water surchallenge, currents, tides, alters in temperature, salinity gradients and gravity are abiotic sources of water motions (Wetzel, 1983). Fishes that live in ponds, lakes, or the deep ocean tfinish to be challenged through much less such hydrodynamic noise compared via fishes that live in a quick flowing river or along the ocean shoreline. In these habitats, extremely unstable water would certainly plainly interfere with the detection of other, biologically even more pertinent signals favor those created by prey, predators or conspecifics. Nonetheless, water curleas might still provide important sensory information that may be used by fishes, such as for orientation, terminal holding and the reduction of energetic costs (Montgomery et al., 1997; Liao et al., 2003; Liao, 2007; Przybilla et al., 2010).


Neuromast sensory organs of the lateral-line system deserve to be distributed across almost the entire fish body (Figure 2). They consist of a macula comprising sensory hair cells, supporting cells and also mantle cells (Münz, 1979). The hair cells are similar in function and also morphology to those in the auditory and vestibular system of vertebrates (Roberts et al., 1988). The ciliary bundles of the hair cells are embedded in a gelatinous dome-choose framework, the cupula (Figure 2). Water movements cause deflections of the cupula causing the shearing of the ciliary bundles (van Netten & Kroese, 1987, 1989; McHenry et al., 2008; van Netten & McHenry 2006), which leads to a change in the hair cells’ membrane potential (Görner, 1963; Harris et al., 1970; Sand et al., 1975).


(a) Distribution of neuromasts in a teleost, Carassius auratus:
, superficial neuromasts;
, canal pores. Typically, a canal neuromast is situated in between two nearby canal pores. (b) Schematic illustrations of a superficial neuromast and (c) a canal neuromast. While superficial neuromasts are engendered directly by water circulation throughout the fish surconfront, canal neuropoles are responsive to water circulation inside the canal which outcomes from push distinctions between canal pores
The a lot of salient attribute of the peripheral lateral-line mechanism is the division into a population of superficial neuropoles and a populace of canal neuromasts (Figure 2). Superficial neuromasts (SN) happen straight on the surface of the skin, wright here they are arranged in lines or clusters on the head, trunk and also tail fin. Functionally, SNs are velocity detectors; i.e., their neuronal responses are proportional to the velocity of the water flowing about the cupula. In comparison, canal neuromasts (CN) occur in canals on fishes’ heads and trunk. The fluid inside the canals contacts the water neighboring the fish with a collection of canal pores. In bony fishes, particularly teleosts, one CN is frequently uncovered in between 2 nearby canal pores (Webb & Northcutt, 1997). Consequently, CNs attribute as push gradient detectors, i.e., they respond to pressure differences in between adjoining canal pores (Coombs & Montgomery, 1999). Outside the canal, the pressure gradient is proportional to the acceleration of the water. Therefore, CNs may also be regarded as acceleration detectors of water motions external the canal (Kalmijn, 1989a).

The cephalic lateral-line canal system of bony fishes comprises the supra and infraorbital, the otic and postotic and the mandibular and preopercular canals. The supraorbital and infraorbital canals meet behind the eye wbelow they continue as the otic canal. The mandibular canal merges with the preopercular canal and the last meets the otic canal simply rostral to the operculum from wbelow they continue as the postotic canal. The postotic canal meets the trunk canal, which extends alengthy the side of the fish. Finally, the supratemporal commiscertain connects the lateral-line canals of the 2 body sides by crossing the peak of the head (Webb, 1989a,b, 2014a,b).

The anatomy of the peripheral lateral-line mechanism varies considerably throughout species (Figure 3; Coombs et al., 1988; Webb, 2014a,b). For circumstances, SNs deserve to be situated on the skin, recessed in pits, or elevated on papillae (Dijkgraaf, 1952, 1963). In addition, SN number and dimension vary greatly among species (Beckmann et al., 2010; Schmitz et al., 2014; Watanabe et al., 2010). The number and also structure of lateral-line canals is likewise extremely variable. The means in which canals differ in the number of branchings, diameter, or number and also size of canal pores have been described by Webb (2014a,b). Canals deserve to be reduced in length or modified in place. For example, they deserve to be arched, disjunct, incomplete or multiplied. For detailed reviews of the phylogenetic distribution and also morphological variation of the peripheral lateral-line mechanism see Coombs et al. (1988), Northcutt (1989), Webb (1989a,b) and also Webb (2014a,b).


Distribution of superficial neuromasts (
) and canal pores (
) in (a) Rhodeus sericeus, (b) Oncorhynchus mykiss and (c) Ancistrus sp


Different peripheral morphologies of a sensory device provide different filter properties. In various other words, morphology determines the array of stimuli to which a sensory system is many sensitive. A classic example of the lateral-line device is how canals function as high pass filters for hydrodynamic stimuli, through narrow canals exhibiting high and widened canals exhibiting low cut-off frequencies (Denton & Gray, 1988, 1989; Bleckmann & Münz, 1990). The filter properties of the lateral-line system not just depfinish on canal morphology, however also on radius and length of the cupula, on cupula sliding stiffness, on the stiffness of the ciliary bundles of the hair cells and for this reason also on the number of hair cells within a neuromast. Additionally, they are influenced by the thickness and also viscosity of the fluid bordering the cupula; i.e., water in the situation of SNs and also canal liquid in the instance of CNs (Denton & Gray, 1989; van Netten, 1991, 2006; Coombs & van Netten, 2006). These variables strongly determine how information from the water neighboring the cupula is moved to the lateral-line device. Finally, number and also placement of SNs and also number and also placement of canal pores might influence the nature of hydrodynamic information that is received by the lateral-line mechanism (Klein et al., 2013).

Without any kind of doubt, the interparticular variation in lateral-line device anatomy is to some level subjected to developpsychological and also morphological constraints (Webb, 1989a,b). However before, the many examples of convergent advancement of peripheral lateral-line morphology (Coombs et al., 1988; Webb, 2014a,b) and the obvious connection between peripheral morphology and filter properties both suggest that the assorted morphological patterns of this sensory device represent, at least partially, adaptations to prevailing hydrodynamic problems that are encountered in the habitats of various species. This hypothesis was sustained by investigations on the morphology of the lateral-line device in the Pacific staghorn sculpin Leptocottus armatus (Girard 1854) (Cottidae), the tidepool sculpin Oligocottus maculosus (Girard 1856) (Cottidae) and also the tadpole sculpin Psychrolutes paradoxus (Günther 1861) (Psychrolutidae) (Vischer, 1990). These species live in distinctly various habitats wright here they are exposed to different hydrodynamic stimuli ranging from slow to very turbulent water flows. At the very same time, they exhilittle bit discrete differences in their lateral-line devices in canal configuration (in certain on the head) and in the number and placement of superficial neuromasts. This says that the lateral-line devices are morphologically adapted to the various hydrodynamic environments in which these fishes live. In other researches, the neuronal responses to hydrodynamic stimuli of lateral-line neurons in goldfish Carassius auratus (L. 1758) (Cyprinidae) and also trout Oncorhynchus mykiss (Walbaum 1792) (Salmonidae) were compared (Engelmann et al., 2002, 2003). Carassius auratus is a slow-relocating still-water fish through an abundance of superficial neuropoles spread across the head, trunk and also tail fin (Puzdrowski, 1989; Schmitz et al., 2008). In contrast, O. mykiss live in rapid flowing rivers, possess only a few superficial neuropoles and have actually lateral-line canals which are narrower than those in C. auratus (Engelmann et al., 2002). In neurophysiological experiments, water flow impacted the responses of C. auratus lateral-line neurons even more strongly than the responses of O. mykiss neurons. In enhancement, C. auratus possess even more neurons sensitive to water flow than O. mykiss. While running water masked neuronal responses to regional vibratory stimuli produced by a mechanical dipole source in both species, responses were affected even more strongly in C. auratus (Engelmann et al., 2002, 2003). These physiological distinctions suggest that the lateral-line units of C. auratus and also O. mykiss are adapted to different hydrodynamic problems. In comparison, no evident distinctions were discovered in the frequency response functions of anterior lateral-line nerve fibres in 6 species of Antarctic fishes of the suborder Notothenioidei, despite these fishes exhibiting distinct distinctions in the dimensions of cranial lateral-line canals (Montgomery et al., 1994). Finally, in a research assessing the abundance and also spatial distribution of superficial neuromasts in twelve prevalent European cyprinicreates (Beckmann et al., 2010) no differences were uncovered in between rheophilic and also limnophilic species. These information argue against correlations in between lateral-line mechanism morphology and also habitat preference.


Intraparticular variations in lateral-line anatomy and their beginnings are not well studied. Differences have the right to be attributed to epigenetic impacts or to phenotypic plasticity. While the former involves transforms that influence gene task and also expression without transforming the DNA sequence (Dupont et al., 2009), the latter describes the capability of a offered genotype to create even more than one phenotype (Price et al., 2003). In many instances, epihereditary impacts play a duty in phenotypic plasticity.

Intraspecific distinctions in lateral-line morphology were uncovered between wild-recorded and also hatchery-reared migratory O. mykiss juveniles. Wild pets had actually considerably even more SNs than hatchery-reared juveniles, although the variety of hair cells within individual neuropoles was not substantially various in between teams (Brvery own et al., 2013). In enhancement, wild and also hatchery-increased migratory O. mykiss had different otolith composition and brain mass, which may have other behavioural after-effects. In the wild, salmon Oncorhynchus spp. grow up in unstable rivers and streams containing pools, riffles and also cascades, whereas hatchery Oncorhynchus spp. are raised in racemethods that are barren, uniform-depth tanks that are flushed by rather low-velocity units (Kihslinger & Nevitt 2006; Kishlinger et al., 2006). This supports the concept that various hydrodynamic problems in the time of advance can result in differences in the anatomy of a sensory device. In the situation of migratory O. mykiss, the reported distinctions predict a decreased sensitivity to biologically important biotic and also abiotic hydrodynamic signals and also subsequently a decreased survival fitness after release (Brvery own et al., 2013).

In farm-reared gilthead sea bream Sparus aurata (L. 1758) (Sparidae), distinctive lateral-line system deformations were found. The fish exhibited zigzag and wavy trunk lateral-line canals with components of the canal even missing, compared via the otherwise quite right and consistent trunk canals discovered in wild S. aurata (Carillo et al., 2001). Farmed sea bass Dicentrarchus labrax (L. 1758) (Moronidae) and S. aurata) exhibited a so-called scale-pocket deformity in which the lateral-line scales were missing while the underlying canal was still present, whereas in the somatic-scale deformity the lateral-line canal was absent but spanned with normal somatic scales (Sfakianakis et al., 2013). Morphological abnormalities of these forms are not necessarily a repercussion of different hydrodynamic problems skilled during rearing but might also be caused by the high density of animals in hatcheries, which results in even more interactions via a concomitant greater price of deformations and ablations (Brown et al., 2013).

Intraspecific differences in lateral-line mechanism morphology were additionally reported for the three-spine stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus L. 1758 (Gasterosteidae), a species that occupies a large selection of aquatic habitats (Wark & Peichel, 2010). While the arrangement of SN lines on the G. aculeatus body is mainly the exact same in different populaces, the number of neuropoles within these lines varies throughout people and also populaces occupying various habitats. For example, stream G. aculeatus have more neuromasts than G. aculeatus living downstream in the same catchment. Wark and Peichel (2010) also uncovered that G. aculeatus from 2 various lakes had actually even more trunk neuromasts than sympatric limnetic G. aculeatus, offering evidence for parallel evolution of the lateral-line system. These data indicate that the lateral-line mechanism in a provided species may suffer different selection pressures in alternative herbal habitats and might therefore build differently under various hydrodynamic problems.

Consistent via this principle are data gathered from guppies Poecilia reticulata (Peters 1859) (Poeciliidae) arguing that risk of predation is a selective pressure affecting lateral-line device phenotype. Fischer et al. (2013) compared the lateral-line devices of wild-recorded Trinidadian P. reticulata (Poeciliidae) from high and low-predation populaces in 2 different river drainages and also discovered that fish in high-predation populaces had actually in its entirety even more neuropoles than fish from low-predation populations. Interestingly, laboratory-reared fish from a low-predation populace of a 3rd river drainage had more neuromasts than laboratory-reared fish from a high-predation population of a fourth drainage. However before, within both populaces, fish exposed to chemical cues from a pike cichlid Crenicichla sp. predator had actually more neuropoles than fish hooffered in tanks containing just organic water. These information show that in P. reticulata the circulation of neuropoles varies in between populations and also is influenced by both hereditary and also environmental determinants with exposure to an ecologically appropriate stimulus.


Afferent nerve fibres are contacting the hair cells of neuromasts and also attach them to the main nervous device (CNS). The fibres course in at leastern 3 unique lateral-line nerves (relying on neuromast location) and terminate mostly in the brainstem. From there, secondary ascending fibres reach distinctive areas in the midbrain and forebrain, indicating that lateral-line indevelopment is processed at all levels of the CNS (Striedter, 1991). A in-depth account of the organisation of the main nervous device with recommendation to the lateral-line mechanism is given by Wullimann and also Grothe (2014).

Many neurophysiological researches have defined the representation of lateral-line information by major afferent nerve fibres as well as brainstem and also midbrain neurons (Chagnaud & Coombs 2014; Mogdans & Bleckmann, 2012; Bleckmann & Mogdans, 2014). Afferent nerve fibres are very sensitive to neighborhood water activities prefer those produced by a sinusoidally vibrating spbelow (Coombs et al., 1996), to facility water activities produced for instance by a moving object (Mogdans & Bleckmann, 1998), to toroid vortices (Chagnaud et al., 2006) and also to bulk water flow (Engelmann et al., 2000, 2002). In enhancement, the discharges of many type of afferent fibres reexisting the shedding frequency of vortices developed by obstacles in the flow (Chagnaud et al., 2007a). Based on their responses, main neurons appear to be more selective than main afferents. For circumstances, many brainstem and also midbrain neurons are not incredibly sensitive to sinusoidal water motions however respond easily to a moving resource (Mogdans & Goenechea, 2000; Engelmann et al., 2003; Plachta et al., 2003). Similarly, some brainstem neurons are unresponsive to mass water flow whereas others are circulation sensitive (Mogdans & Kröther, 2001). Central lateral-line neurons might even encode the frequency of the vortices that are shed by a cylinder in the circulation (Klein et al., 2015; Winkelnkemper et al., 2018). While it is well-known that ascfinishing lateral-line information reaches the forebrain of fishes (Striedter, 1991), there are hardly any information on forebrain responses to hydrodynamic stimuli. There is additionally little understanding on the attribute of the efferent connections within the main lateral-line device (Flock & Rusmarket, 1976; Roberts & Rusoffer, 1972; Weeg et al., 2005).

See more: Burbank Virtual Office At 3727 W. Magnolia Blvd #712 Burbank, Ca 91505


The lateral-line units in various fish species are adapted to certain hydrodynamic signals offered in distinctive behavioural conmessages or settings (Coombs & Montgomery, 2014; Webb et al., 2008). The the majority of clear-reduced example of sensory adaptation to a certain form of hydrodynamic stimulus is the peripheral lateral-line mechanism of surface-feeding fishes. Species such as the topmincurrently Aplocheilus lineatus (Valenciennes 1846) (Aplocheilidae) or the African butterflyfish Pantodon buchholzi (Peters 1876) (Pantodontidae) have flattened heads bearing a specialised cephalic lateral-line device consisting of six rows each containing acceleration-sensitive neuromasts (Figure 4). As such, the cephalic lateral-line system in these species is particularly well suited for the detection of water-surchallenge waves (Bleckmann et al., 1989; Montgomery et al., 2014).