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Behav Processes. 2011 Feb;86(2):222-9. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2010.12.003. Epub 2010 Dec 13.

Locomotor behaviors in zebrafish (Danio rerio) larvae.

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Department of Psychology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA. Ruth


Locomotor behaviors were examined in two experiments using zebrafish (Danio rerio) larvae at 4, 5, 6 and 7 days post fertilization (dpf). Larvae were observed in individual wells of a 12-well plate for 1 h a day. In Experiment 1, the same larvae were observed for four consecutive days beginning on post-fertilization day 4; in Experiment 2, different groups of larvae from the same egg collection were observed at 4, 5, 6 and 7 dpf. Automated images collected every 6 s were analyzed for information about larval location, orientation and general activity. In both experiments, 4 dpf larvae rested significantly more, used a smaller area of the well more frequently, and were generally less active than older larvae. All larvae exhibited a preference for facing away from the center of the well and for the edge of the well. However, prolonged exposure to the well influenced overall activity, orientation, and preference for the edge region. The implications of these results for understanding the development of larval behavior and for the design of procedures to measure the effects of experience in zebrafish larvae are discussed.

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