Meeting Abstract

35-3  Thursday, Jan. 5 14:00 - 14:15  Growth changes the escape response to visual looming stimuli in zebrafish MCKEE, A*; MCHENRY, MJ; University of California, Irvine; University of California, Irvine

Fish rely on vision to detect and evade approaching predators with a fast-start escape response. It is unclear how this ability changes over the course of a fish’s growth, as the visual system transforms dramatically from larval to adult stages. We compared the escape kinematics of zebrafish in response to a projected looming stimulus (an expanding black circle). This was achieved using an automated system that performed experiments on individual larval, juvenile and adult zebrafish (Danio rerio). We found that fish of different ages vary in their spontaneous swimming and response to a looming stimulus, as measured by changes in heading and speed. In particular, juvenile fish showed the greatest rate of spontaneous swimming and a relatively high responsiveness to a looming stimulus. These results show that escape responses are not static in fish, but change through growth. This perspective sheds new light on previous studies on escape responses in fish.