Habituation of medaka (Oryzias latipes) demonstrated by open-field testing

Habituation to novel environments is frequently studied to analyze cognitive phenotypes in animals, and an open-field test is generally conducted to investigate the changes that occur in animals during habituation.  The test has not been used in behavioral studies of medaka (Oryzias latipes), which is recently being used in behavioral research.  Therefore, we examined the open-field behavior of medaka on the basis of temporal changes in 2 conventional indexes of locomotion and position.  The findings of our study clearly showed that medaka changed its behavior through multiple temporal phases as it became more familiar with new surroundings; this finding is consistent with those of other ethological studies in animals.  During repeated open-field testing on 2 consecutive days, we observed that horizontal locomotion on the second day was less than that on the first day, which suggested that habituation is retained in fish for days.  This temporal habituation was critically affected by water factors or visual cues of the tank, thereby suggesting that fish have spatial memory of their surroundings.  Thus, the data from this study will afford useful fundamental information for behavioral phenotyping of medaka and for elucidating cognitive phenotypes in animals.

Eye of Medaka fish
Keywords: habituation; locomotion; medaka; novel environment; open-field test

Matsunaga, W., and, Watanabe, E., Habituation of medaka (Oryzias latipes) demonstrated by open-field testing, Behavioural Processes 85, 142-150 (2010)


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