Goal-directed behaviours may be poorly coordinated in young animals but, with age and experience, behaviour progressively adapts to efficiently exploit the animal's ecological niche. How experience impinges on the developing neural circuits of behaviour is an open question. We have conducted a detailed study of the effects of experience on the ontogeny of hunting behaviour in larval zebrafish. We report that larvae with prior experience of live prey consume considerably more prey than naive larvae. This is mainly due to increased capture success and a modest increase in hunt rate. We demonstrate that the initial turn to prey and the final capture manoeuvre of the hunting sequence were jointly modified by experience and that modification of these components predicted capture success. Our findings establish an ethologically relevant paradigm in zebrafish for studying how the brain is shaped by experience to drive the ontogeny of efficient behaviour.
- Konstantinos Lagogiannis
- Giovanni Diana
- Martin P Meyer
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: This work was approved by the local Animal Care and Use Committee (King's College London) and was performed in accordance with the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act, 1986, under license from the United Kingdom Home Office Licence number P9090AEFD. All primary data included in the manuscript came from the use of zebrafish larvae. All procedures were non-invasive and classified as mild according to the Animals Act 1986 and as defined by the United Kingdom Home Office, in order to minimize animal suffering. At the end of regulated procedures, animals were culled using a schedule 1 method (terminal dose of MS222).
- Yuichi Iino, University of Tokyo, Japan
© 2020, Lagogiannis et al.
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