Black Ghost Fish (Apteronotus albifrons) Facts

black ghost fish
(Last Updated On: August 5, 2020)

The black ghost, or Black ghost knifefish scientific name Apteronotus albifrons, is a tropical fish belonging to the ghost knifefish household (Apteronotidae).

The black ghost fish originates in freshwater habitats in South America the place starting from Venezuela to the Paraguay–Paraná River, together with the Amazon Basin.

The black ghost fish is widespread in aquaria. The black ghost fish is all black besides for 2 white rings on its tail, and a white blaze on its nostrils, which might often lengthen right into a stripe down its again.

It strikes primarily by undulating an extended fin on its underside. It would develop to a most size of 50 cm (20 in).

The black ghost fish are nocturnal. They’re a weakly electrical fish that use an electric organ and receptors distributed over the size of their physique so as to find insect larvae.

Black ghost knifefish with its underside pointing in the direction of the digital camera

The black ghost fish natively live in fast-paced, sandy backside creeks in tropical local weather. South American natives imagine that the ghosts of the departed take up residence in these fish, therefore the identity.

The black ghost knifefish is a weakly electrical fish on account of the electromotor and electrosensory methods it possesses.

Whereas some fish can solely obtain electrical indicators, the black ghost knifefish can each produce and sense {the electrical} impulses.

Electrogenesis happens when a specialized electrical organ discovered within the tail of the fish generates electrical indicators, that are thus referred to as electrical organ discharges (EODs).

Then, for these EODs to be sensed by the fish, electroreception happens when teams of sensory cells embedded within the pores and skin, often known as electroreceptor organs, detect {the electrical} change.

The EODs are used for 2 main functions: electrolocation and communication.

The type of EOD produced can be utilized to tell apart between two forms of weakly electrical fish: the pulse-type and the wave-type.

The black ghost knifefish are thought of to be the latter kind, as a result of they will constantly generate EODs in small intervals.

Wave-type EODs have a slender energy spectrum and may be heard as a tonal sound, the place the discharge charge establishes the basic frequency.

By emitting its personal steady sinusoidal preparation of EODs, the fish can decide the presence of close by objects by sensing perturbations in timing and amplitude of electrical fields, a capability often known as energetic electrolocation.

The actual organs used to sense the self-generated high-frequency EODs are tuberous electroreceptor organs.

Alternatively, when low-frequency electrical fields are generated by exterior sources as a substitute of the fish itself, a special class of electroreceptor organs is used for this passive electrolocation, referred to as ampullary organs.

Due to this fact, the black ghost knifefish makes use of an energetic and a passive electro system, every with its personal corresponding receptor organs.

The fish may also use a mechanosensory lateral line system, which detects water disturbances created by the movement of the fish’s physique.

As nocturnal hunters, the fish can depend on all three methods to navigate via darkish environments and detect their prey.

Every species has an attribute EOD baseline frequency vary, which varies with intercourse and age throughout the species, as effectively.

The baseline frequency is maintained to be virtually fixed at a steady temperature, however, will often be modified because of the presence of others of the identical species.

Such adjustments in frequency related to social interplay are referred to as frequency modulations (FMs).

The position these FMs have in communication is important, as black ghost knifefish have developed jamming avoidance responses, which are behavioral responses that keep away from the overlapping of EOD frequencies between conspecific people to stop sensory confusion.

Furthermore, research was performed that targeted on sexual dimorphism in electrocommunication indicators.

Feminine black ghost knifefish generate EODs at the next frequency than the males, an FM which can be utilized for gender recognition.

A research discovered the subordinate black ghost knifefish exhibited noticeable gradual frequency rises (GFRs) of their EODs whereas the dominant fish didn’t, supporting the researchers’ speculation that GFRs throughout communication is indicative of submissive indicators.

It’s doable to make use of a tool to transform captive electrical indicators of a black ghost fish into an audible sound, permitting listeners to listen to the fish “speak”.

The Bakken Museum in Minneapolis has a show with such a tool and a black ghost knifefish.

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