A pattern of dark vertical bands is a characteristic agonistic display in the green sunfish, Lepomis cyanellus and the bluegill, L. macrochirus. The rapidity with which the display can appear and disappear indicates that it is neurally controlled. Electrical stimulation of the brain was carried out in anaesthetized green sunfish and bluegills to map those regions from which this colour change can be elicited. Banding was evoked by stimulation of sites near the midline in the preoptic area, ventral thalamic-dorsal hypothalmic transition zone, the midbrain tegmentum (just dorsal to the nucleus prerotundus pars medialis), in and near the torus semicricularis, in the basal midbrain (region of the crossing tectobulbar tracts), and in the rostral basomedial medulla. A ‘transition’ zone was located basally in the middle medulla, caudal to which only paling was evoked. Areas found to be negative for evoked banding included the telencephalic lobe, the inferior lobe of the hypothalamus, the optic tract, the optic tectum, the body and valvula of the cerebellum and the caudal medulla. It is postulated that the vertical banding pattern is made up of a separate, selectively controlled system of dermal melanophores. The possible neural mechanisms controlling banding are discussed.
- © 1980 by Company of Biologists