Systematic screening of behavioral responses in two zebrafish strains

Zebrafish. 2013 Sep;10(3):365-75. doi: 10.1089/zeb.2013.0871. Epub 2013 Jun 5.


Wild-type (WT) zebrafish are commonly used in behavioral tests, but the term WT is not a precise description, and corresponds to many different strains (e.g., AB, TU, WIK, and others). Previous studies compared the physiological, behavioral, or metabolic characteristics of different zebrafish strains (indigenous WT populations versus laboratory WT strains). AB and TU are widely used, but at least one study has demonstrated behavioral differences between them. To choose the most appropriate strain for our experiments, we systematically screened behavioral responses of AB and TU fish in several assays. We analyzed the locomotion activity and responses to a light/dark challenge in adults and larvae, and exploratory behavior and color conditioning in adults. Differences were observed for all tests, the strains displaying particular behavior depending on the tests. As larvae, TU displayed a wider activity range than AB larvae at the onset of locomotor behavior; as adults, TU were more reactive to sudden light transitions and recovered the swimming activity faster in T-maze or homebase release in novel tank tests, whereas AB fish had more contrasted circadian rhythms and performed better in color learning. Strain-specific behavior should be considered when designing experiments using behavior.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Color
  • Exploratory Behavior*
  • Female
  • Larva
  • Male
  • Maze Learning*
  • Swimming
  • Zebrafish*