The algorithm for the control of the jamming avoidance response (JAR) of Eigenmannia has been the subject of debate for over two decades. Two competing theories have been proposed to explain how fish determine the correct direction to shift their pacemaker frequency during jamming. One theory emphasizes the role of time-asymmetric beat envelopes, while the other emphasizes the role of amplitude- and phase-difference computations that arise from the differences in spatial geometry of the electric fields of neighboring fish. In repeating earlier experiments, we found that the decision to raise or lower the pacemaker frequency reliably above or below its resting level depends on the latter process, and that frequency deceleration responses to amplitude modulation appear to be sufficient to explain previous experimental results on which the former theory is based. Specifically, fish of the genus Eigenmannia show differential deceleration responses to asymmetric beat envelopes. The deceleration responses do not require phase modulation and show a sensitivity for amplitude modulation depth and selectivity for amplitude modulation rate comparable with that of JARs that are elicited when amplitude- and phase-difference information is available.
- © 1999 by Company of Biologists