Behavioral phenotyping in zebrafish: comparison of three behavioral quantification methods

Behav Res Methods. 2006 Aug;38(3):456-69. doi: 10.3758/bf03192800.


The zebrafish has been popular in developmental biology and genetics, but its brain function has rarely been studied. High-throughput screening of mutation or drug-induced changes in brain function requires simple and automatable behavioral tests. This article compares three behavioral quantification methods in four simple behavioral paradigms that test a range of characteristics of adult zebrafish, including novelty-induced responses, social behavior, aggression, and predator-model-induced responses. Two quantification methods, manual recording and computerized videotracking of location and activity, yielded very similar results, suggesting that automated videotracking reliably measures activity parameters and will allow high-throughput screening. However, observation-based event recording of posture patterns was found generally not to correlate with videotracking measures, suggesting that further refinement of automated behavior quantification may be considered.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / physiology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Behavioral Sciences / methods
  • Escape Reaction / physiology
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Phenotype*
  • Reference Values
  • Social Behavior*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Zebrafish