The transmission and central representation of sensory cues through the accurate construction of neural maps is essential for animals to react to environmental stimuli. Structural diversity of sensorineural maps along a continuum between discrete- and continuous-map architectures can influence behavior. The mechanosensory lateral line of fishes and amphibians, for example, detects complex hydrodynamics occurring around the animal body. It triggers innate fast escape reactions but also modulates complex navigation behaviors that require constant knowledge about the environment. The aim of this article is to summarize recent work in the zebrafish that has shed light on the development and structure of the lateralis neural map, which is helping to understand how individual sensory modalities generate appropriate behavioral responses to the sensory context.
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