Electroreception

Authored by: Robert Splinter

Handbook of Physics in Medicine and Biology

Print publication date:  April  2010
Online publication date:  April  2010

Print ISBN: 9781420075243
eBook ISBN: 9781420075250
Adobe ISBN:

10.1201/9781420075250-c11

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Abstract

It has been known for centuries that rubbing amber will generate an electrical charge. In Greek the word for “amber” is electron, which places the origin of the name for electricity around 600 bc. In addition to the visible impact of electrostatic forces, moving charges are recognized as having secondary effects that can be measured. As such, moving charges and the associated electric and magnetic fields, respectively, can be detected by biological organs that have a structure that accommodates the interaction. The biological detection of electric and magnetic fields is ranked as a separate sense called electroreception, sometimes also called electroception.

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