Data set for Collective Sensing in Electric Fish

Published: 10 November 2023| Version 2 | DOI: 10.17632/jwwrfp2s78.2
Federico Pedraja, nate sawtell


A number of organisms, including dolphins, bats and electric fish, possess sophisticated active sensory systems in which self-generated signals (e.g. acoustic or electrical emissions) are used to probe the environment. Studies of active sensing in social groups have typically focused on strategies for minimizing interference due to conspecific emissions. However, it is well-known from engineering that multiple spatially distributed emitters and receivers can greatly enhance environmental sensing (e.g. multistatic radar and sonar). Here we provide evidence from modeling, neural recordings, and behavioral experiments that the African weakly electric fish Gnathonemus petersii utilizes the electrical pulses of conspecifics to extend electrolocation range, discriminate objects, and increase information transmission. These results suggest a novel, collective mode of active sensing in which individual perception is enhanced by the energy emissions of nearby group members



Columbia University


Behavioral Neuroscience