Chapter

Electrolocation and Thermal Senses

Ian P. Howard

in Perceiving in Depth

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199764167
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949373 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199764167.003.0278

Series: Oxford Psychology Series

Electrolocation and Thermal Senses

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Some aquatic animals detect electrical potentials emitted by other animals. This is passive electrolocation. Certain fish emit electric currents and then detect the distortions of the resulting electric field produced by objects and other fish. This is active electrolocation. The sense organs responsible for electrolocation are first described and then the neural mechanisms in the brain. It is remarkable that neural mechanisms involved in electrolocation have many features in common with visual mechanisms. The chapter ends with an account of sensory mechanisms used to detect the distance of a source of heat. Certain beetles detect a distant forest fire and fly towards it. Snakes detect the heat emitted by their prey.

Keywords: electrolocation; thermal sense organs

Chapter.  6496 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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