Electroreception Reading Ielts Answers and Questions

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  • IELTS Reading Diagram Labelling
  • IELTS Reading Summary Completion
  • IELTS Reading Locating Information

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IELTS Reading Passage – Electroreception


In sea water, it is difficult to discern anything other than a murky, blurry green colour. Even the sounds are muddled and hard to make out. How do fish make it look so simple in environments where people would be lost without specialised equipment? The biological phenomena of electroreception, perception, and response to electrical impulses, are largely responsible for this. As water is an effective conductor of electricity, this capacity is exclusive to aquatic and amphibian animals.

There are two forms of electroreception. Although the neural systems of all animals (including humans) produce electric impulses as they are disgorged by the nervous system, certain animals can detect the presence of other species through a process called passive electroreception.

However, certain species can go far further. Active electroreception is animals with organs that can provide distinct electric signals when needed. These are useful not just for finding things in the water, but also as mating signals and territorial displays. Electroreceptors that are actively processing information may identify the distinction between the varied resistances that an electrical current encounters. This can aid in determining whether or not an unidentified animal is a potential meal, a threat, or something to be avoided. The range of active electroreception is around one body length, which is generally just enough for a host to avoid danger or make a killing strike.

The extraordinary use of active electroreception, known as the Jamming Avoidance Response mechanism, has been discovered amongst individuals of some species of weakly electric fish. When two such electric fish encounter one another in the ocean while communicating on the same frequency, each fish will alter the frequency of its discharge to communicate on a different frequency. Doing so protects their electroreception faculties from getting obstructed. Long before citizens’ band radio listeners were required to shout “Get off my frequency!” At least one of the species had developed a form of method for doing so for a quick and peaceful solution to this sort of conflict with incompetent beginners clogging the airwaves.Electroreception can play a significant part in animal defences. Rays are one example of this. Ray embryos grow in egg casings that are anchored to the seafloor. The embryos maintain continual movement of their tails in order to pump water and allow them to breathe through the egg’s shell.However, if a predatory fish is nearby, the embryo’s electroreceptors cause it to stop moving (and so stop sending electric currents) until the fish has gone on. Because many different kinds of marine animals pass by, the embryo has adapted to respond solely to signals that are typical of the respiratory motions of prospective predators like sharks.

Due to sharks, many people fear swimming in the water. This fear is well-founded in certain ways, as humans lack electroreceptive defence systems. Sharks, on the other hand, hunt with incredible accuracy. Moreover, two thirds of a shark’s brain is fully devoted to its olfactory organs, allowing them to first locate its prey based on its scent. As the shark approaches its victim, it tunes into electrical impulses that enable a perfect strike; this sensitivity is so acute that the shark attacks blindly by closing its eyes for defence.

Typically, human beings are attacked unintentionally. Since sharks cannot tell from electroreception if a food will satisfy their preferences, they typically “try before they buy,” taking one or two bites and then evaluating the results (our sinewy muscle is inferior to that of plumper, softer prey such as seals). Salt in the blood increases the strength of the electric field, creating the ideal conditions for a feeding frenzy, which is extremely likely after a human has begun to bleed. In regions where shark attacks on people are prevalent, scientists are studying techniques to develop electroreceptors that might disorient sharks and deter them from swimming shores.

There is still much we do not understand about how electroreception works. Despite the fact that researchers have seen the effects of electroreception on hunting, defence, and communication systems, the precise cerebral mechanisms that store and interpret this information remain unknown. Additionally, scientists are investigating the significance of electroreception in navigation. Salt water and magnetic fields from the Earth’s core may combine to generate electrical currents that sharks employ for migratory reasons, according to certain theories.

Electroreception Reading Questions

Questions 1-3

Label the diagram. Write NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.

  1. The shark’s __________ inform the juvenile ray of its existence.
  2. To breathe, the embryo moves its __________.
  3. When a predator is nearby, the embryo ceases transmitting ____________.

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Questions 4-7

Complete the following summary. Write NO MORE THAN THREE words per response from the passage.

A shark is a very efficient predator. Firstly, it uses its 4 __________ to smell its prey. When the shark is close enough to attack, it employs 5 _________ to guide it toward a precise attack. Within the final few feet, the shark rolls its eyes and retracts inside its head. Humans are not popular food sources for most sharks due to their 6 __________ Nevertheless, once a shark has bitten a human, a repeat attack is highly possible as salt from the blood intensifies the intensity of the 7 __________.

Questions 8-13

Which paragraph contains the following information? Write the correct letter from A–H, in boxes 8–13 on your answer sheet.

8.  A description of how some fish can avoid disrupting each other’s electric signals

9.  The term for the capacity which enables an animal to pick up but not send out electrical signals

10. How electroreception might help creatures find their way over long distances

11. A possible use for electroreception that will benefit humans

12. Why only creatures that live in or near water have electroreceptive abilities

13. How electroreception can be used to help fish reproduce

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Electroreception Reading Answers

1.  Respiratory motions

2.  Tail

3.  Electric currents

4.  Olfactory organs

5. Electrical impulses

6. Sinewy muscle

7. Electric field

8. D

9. B

10. H 

11. G

12. A

13. C 


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