ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-200403-240
Response to change in the number of visual stimuli in zebrafish:A behavioural and molecular study
Messina, A., Potrich, D., Schiona, I., Sovrano, V.A., Fraser, S.E., Brennan, C.H., Vallortigara, G.
Date: 2020
Source: Scientific Reports   10: 5769 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Brennan, Caroline, Fraser, Scott E.
Keywords: none
MeSH Terms:
  • Animals
  • Discrimination Learning
  • Genes, Immediate-Early
  • Habituation, Psychophysiologic
  • Male
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Superior Colliculi/physiology
  • Telencephalon/physiology
  • Thalamus/physiology
  • Visual Perception
  • Zebrafish/genetics
  • Zebrafish/physiology*
PubMed: 32238844 Full text @ Sci. Rep.
Evidence has shown that a variety of vertebrates, including fish, can discriminate collections of visual items on the basis of their numerousness using an evolutionarily conserved system for approximating numerical magnitude (the so-called Approximate Number System, ANS). Here we combine a habituation/dishabituation behavioural task with molecular biology assays to start investigating the neural bases of the ANS in zebrafish. Separate groups of zebrafish underwent a habituation phase with a set of 3 or 9 small red dots, associated with a food reward. The dots changed in size, position and density from trial to trial but maintained their numerousness, and the overall areas of the stimuli was kept constant. During the subsequent dishabituation test, zebrafish faced a change (i) in number (from 3 to 9 or vice versa with the same overall surface), or (ii) in shape (with the same overall surface and number), or (iii) in size (with the same shape and number). A control group of zebrafish was shown the same stimuli as during the habituation. RT-qPCR revealed that the telencephalon and thalamus were characterized by the most consistent modulation of the expression of the immediate early genes c-fos and egr-1 upon change in numerousness; in contrast, the retina and optic tectum responded mainly to changes in stimulus size.