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Curr Biol. 2016 Nov 21;26(22):3046-3052. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.09.009. Epub 2016 Oct 20.

Vision Drives Accurate Approach Behavior during Prey Capture in Laboratory Mice.

Author information

1
Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, USA; Department of Biology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, USA.
2
Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, USA; Department of Psychology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, USA.
3
Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, USA; Department of Biology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, USA. Electronic address: cniell@uoregon.edu.

Abstract

The ability to genetically identify and manipulate neural circuits in the mouse is rapidly advancing our understanding of visual processing in the mammalian brain [1, 2]. However, studies investigating the circuitry that underlies complex ethologically relevant visual behaviors in the mouse have been primarily restricted to fear responses [3-5]. Here, we show that a laboratory strain of mouse (Mus musculus, C57BL/6J) robustly pursues, captures, and consumes live insect prey and that vision is necessary for mice to perform the accurate orienting and approach behaviors leading to capture. Specifically, we differentially perturbed visual or auditory input in mice and determined that visual input is required for accurate approach, allowing maintenance of bearing to within 11° of the target on average during pursuit. While mice were able to capture prey without vision, the accuracy of their approaches and capture rate dramatically declined. To better explore the contribution of vision to this behavior, we developed a simple assay that isolated visual cues and simplified analysis of the visually guided approach. Together, our results demonstrate that laboratory mice are capable of exhibiting dynamic and accurate visually guided approach behaviors and provide a means to estimate the visual features that drive behavior within an ethological context.

KEYWORDS:

behavior; ethology; mouse; prey capture; vision

PMID:
27773567
PMCID:
PMC5121011
DOI:
10.1016/j.cub.2016.09.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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