ABSTRACT

Fast escape responses to a predator threat are fundamental to the survival of mobile marine organisms. However, elasmobranchs are often underrepresented in such studies. Here, we measured the escape latency (time interval between the stimulus and first visible reaction) of mechanically induced escape responses in the Pacific spiny dogfish, Squalus suckleyi, and in two teleosts from the same region, the great sculpin, Myoxocephalus polyacanthocephalus, and the pile perch, Rhacochilus vacca. We found that the dogfish had a longer minimum latency (66.7 ms) compared with that for the great sculpin (20.8 ms) and pile perch (16.7 ms). Furthermore, the dogfish had a longer latency than that of 48 different teleosts identified from 35 different studies. We suggest such long latencies in dogfish may be due to the absence of Mauthner cells, the giant neurons that control fast escape responses in fishes.

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