How do fish sense movement using a lateral line?



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    Fish use the lateral line to detect vibrations.  For example, in 2001, a study showed that fish used their lateral lines to detect vibrations originating from prey; once the vibrations were detected, the fish oriented themselves towards the vibrations and began predatory action.  I linked the study below, just in case you were interested.

    The lateral line system varies a little bit by type of fish and isn’t found in all fishes.  For example, most fish that utilize lateral line systems have structures called neuromasts, which contain special epithelial cells called hair cells.  Sharks, rays, and some bony fish have slightly different neuromasts called Ampullae of Lorenzini, which can detect electrical charges in the water.

    Long story short: fish use their lateral lines to sense prey in a way that is akin to a human’s “hearing.”  Without their lateral lines, many types of fish would be unable to hunt.

    I included a link to a website that explains lateral lines in more detail, if you want to know more.

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