We investigated the behavioural and learning response of zebrafish larvae to chemicals released by injured conspecifics (the alarm cue). Many aquatic vertebrates and invertebrates exhibit an innate antipredator response to alarm cues because in nature, they reliably indicate the presence of predators. Likewise, when an individual simultaneously perceives a novel odour and alarm cue, it learns to recognise the novel odour as a predator odour. Alarm cue-mediated behavioural response and learning have been reported in some fish and amphibians during early ontogeny, but in zebrafish, they have been described only for adults. In this study, we demonstrated that zebrafish at 12 and 24 days post fertilization exhibited reduced activity when exposed to alarm cue obtained by homogenised larvae of the same age, with this response being greater for the older zebrafish. In addition, we showed that 24-dpf zebrafish conditioned with alarm cue plus a novel odour learned to recognise the novel odour as a threat and responded to it with antipredator behaviour. The innate behavioural response and the learned response after conditioning may be used to develop paradigms with which to study anxiety, fear, stress, learning and memory in zebrafish larvae.

Alarm cue-mediated response and learning in zebrafish larvae

Lucon Xiccato T.
Primo
;
Di Mauro G.
Secondo
;
Bertolucci C.
Ultimo
2020

Abstract

We investigated the behavioural and learning response of zebrafish larvae to chemicals released by injured conspecifics (the alarm cue). Many aquatic vertebrates and invertebrates exhibit an innate antipredator response to alarm cues because in nature, they reliably indicate the presence of predators. Likewise, when an individual simultaneously perceives a novel odour and alarm cue, it learns to recognise the novel odour as a predator odour. Alarm cue-mediated behavioural response and learning have been reported in some fish and amphibians during early ontogeny, but in zebrafish, they have been described only for adults. In this study, we demonstrated that zebrafish at 12 and 24 days post fertilization exhibited reduced activity when exposed to alarm cue obtained by homogenised larvae of the same age, with this response being greater for the older zebrafish. In addition, we showed that 24-dpf zebrafish conditioned with alarm cue plus a novel odour learned to recognise the novel odour as a threat and responded to it with antipredator behaviour. The innate behavioural response and the learned response after conditioning may be used to develop paradigms with which to study anxiety, fear, stress, learning and memory in zebrafish larvae.
Lucon Xiccato, T.; Di Mauro, G.; Bisazza, A.; Bertolucci, C.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/2416321
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