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Behav Brain Res. 2007 Dec 3;184(2):157-66. Epub 2007 Jul 12.

Quantification of shoaling behaviour in zebrafish (Danio rerio).

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Department of Psychology, University of Toronto at Mississauga, 3359 Mississauga Road, Mississauga, Ont., Canada L5L 1C6.


Zebrafish has been a favourite of developmental biologists and numerous genetic tools have been developed for this species. In recent years, zebrafish has become an increasingly popular subject of neuroscientists and behavioural scientists. One of the typical characteristics of zebrafish is shoaling, individuals forming a tight group in which fish swim together. The biological mechanisms of social behaviours are complex and not well understood in vertebrates, and zebrafish, due to its highly social nature and the genetic tools developed for it, may represent an excellent animal model with which these mechanisms may be studied. Improvement of behavioural quantification methods would facilitate research in this area. We describe a custom software application that allows the precise quantification of several parameters of group cohesion in zebrafish. We also present three experimental examples to illuminate the use of our methodology, and show how group cohesion changes in response to manipulations of the environment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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