Development of social behaviour in young zebrafish

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Elena DreostiStephen W Wilson


Adult zebrafish are robustly social animals whereas larvae are not. We designed an assay to determine at what stage in development zebrafish begin to prefer and interact with conspecifics. We find a very weak attraction to conspecifics for one week old fish, however most three week old zebrafish, given a choice, strongly prefer to remain in the compartment where they can view conspecifics. However, for some individuals, the presence of conspecifics drives avoidance instead of attraction. This social preference is dependent on vision and requires viewing fish of a similar age/size. In addition, fish also gradually increase the degree of social interaction, measured as a tendency to coordinate their movements. Finally, social preference and interaction are differentially modified by an NMDAR antagonist and acute exposure to ethanol, both of which are known to alter social behaviour in adult zebrafish.

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