Prey-Capture in the African Clawed Toad (Xenopus laevis): Comparison of Turning to Visual and Lateral Line Stimuli

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Journal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology


Separately delivered visual and lateral line stimuli elicit similar but not identical orientation and approach by intact, sighted Xenopus. Response frequencies for visual stimuli declined sharply for distant or caudal stimuli while those for lateral line stimuli changed little. Turn angles correlated highly with stimulus angles but were smaller on average, so regression slopes were less than one. Regression slopes were smaller for visual than for lateral line stimuli, but this apparent difference was due to different distributions of stimulus distance interacting with the toad's rotation center. Errors in final headings, most often under-rotations, did not differ by modality. Frequencies of lunges and arm capture movements were higher for visual stimuli both overall and especially for rostral proximal stimuli. The results demonstrate accurate orientation by sighted Xenopus to visual and lateral line stimuli; they are consistent with expectations based on in-register tectal maps. Orientation to lateral line stimuli is similar to previous results with blinded animals, revealing no heightened acuity in the latter. Modality differences indicate that the lateral line system is better for omnidirectional orientation and approach to distant stimuli whereas the visual system is more attuned to nearby rostral stimuli and more apt to mediate strikes. © 2006 Springer-Verlag.