Spontaneous alternation behavior (SAB) describes the tendency of animals to alternate their turn direction in consecutive turns. SAB, dissimilar from other mnestic tasks, does not require any prior training or reinforcement. Due to its close correlation to the development and function of hippocampus in mice, it is thought to reflect a type of memory. Adult zebrafish possess a hippocampus-like structure utilizing the same neurotransmitters as in human brains, and have thus been used to study memory. In the current study we established SAB in zebrafish larvae at 6 days post fertilization using a custom made forced-turn maze with a rate of 57%. Our demonstration of SAB's presence in larval zebrafish at a very early developmental stage not only provides evidence for early cognition in this species but suggests its future use as a high-throughput model for mnestic studies.
- Received September 6, 2016.
- Accepted October 25, 2016.
- © 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd