Black Ghost Knifefish (Apteronotus albifrons). Ecological Risk Screening Summary. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, web version – 4/2/ Photo: Clinton . J Exp Biol. May;(Pt 10) Prey capture in the weakly electric fish Apteronotus albifrons: sensory acquisition strategies and electrosensory. Gradual frequency rises in interacting black ghost knifefish, Apteronotus albifrons . Serrano-Fernández P(1). Author information: (1)Deptartment of Clinical.

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The black ghost knifefish Apteronotus albifrons is a tropical fish belonging to the ghost knifefish family Apteronotidae.

Black ghost knifefish, Apteronotus albifrons — Fish, Tanks and Ponds

The fish is all black except for two white rings on its tail, and a white blaze on its nose, which can occasionally extend into a stripe down its back. It moves mainly by undulating a long fin on its underside. Black ghost knife fish are nocturnal. They are a weakly electric fish which use an electric organ and receptors distributed over the length of their body in order to locate insect larvae.

The black ghost knifefish natively lives in fast moving, sandy bottom creeks in a tropical climate.


South American natives believe that the ghosts of the departed take up residence in these fish, [3] hence the name. The black ghost knifefish is a weakly electric fish as a result of the electromotor and electrosensory systems it possesses. The kind of EOD produced can be used to distinguish between two types of weakly electric fish: Wave-type EODs have a narrow power spectra, and can be heard as a tonal sound, where the discharge rate establishes the fundamental frequency.

On the other hand, when low-frequency electric fields are generated by external sources instead of the fish itself, a different class of electroreceptor organs is used for this passive electrolocationcalled ampullary organs. Therefore, the black ghost knifefish uses an active and a passive electrosystem, each with its own corresponding receptor organs. Each species has a characteristic EOD baseline frequency range, which varies with sex and age within the species, as well.

The baseline frequency is maintained to be almost constant at stable temperature, but will usually be changed due to the presence of others of the same species. Such changes in frequency relevant to social interaction are called frequency modulations FMs.

The role these FMs have in communication is significant, as black ghost knifefish have developed jamming avoidance responseswhich are behavioral responses that avoid the overlapping of EOD frequencies alhifrons conspecific individuals to prevent sensory confusion.


Female black ghost knifefish generate EODs at a higher frequency than the males, an FM which can be used for gender recognition.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Apteronotus albifrons | Freshwater | Species Profiles | TFH Magazine®

Black ghost knifefish Scientific classification Kingdom: J Comp Physiol A. Archived from the original PDF on Advances in apteronootus Study of Behaviour.

Advances in the Study of Behavior. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries.

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Black Ghost Knifefish – Apteronotus Albifrons

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