Neural circuits mediating olfactory-driven behavior in fish

Front Neural Circuits. 2013 Apr 11;7:62. doi: 10.3389/fncir.2013.00062. eCollection 2013.


The fish olfactory system processes odor signals and mediates behaviors that are crucial for survival such as foraging, courtship, and alarm response. Although the upstream olfactory brain areas (olfactory epithelium and olfactory bulb) are well-studied, less is known about their target brain areas and the role they play in generating odor-driven behaviors. Here we review a broad range of literature on the anatomy, physiology, and behavioral output of the olfactory system and its target areas in a wide range of teleost fish. Additionally, we discuss how applying recent technological advancements to the zebrafish (Danio rerio) could help in understanding the function of these target areas. We hope to provide a framework for elucidating the neural circuit computations underlying the odor-driven behaviors in this small, transparent, and genetically amenable vertebrate.

Keywords: anatomy and physiology; behavior; habenula; hypothalamus; olfactory bulb; olfactory epithelium; teleost; zebrafish.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fishes
  • Humans
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Odorants*
  • Olfactory Bulb / physiology*
  • Olfactory Mucosa / physiology
  • Olfactory Pathways / physiology*
  • Smell / physiology*