Positive taxis and sustained responsiveness to water motions in larval zebrafish

Front Neural Circuits. 2015 Mar 6;9:9. doi: 10.3389/fncir.2015.00009. eCollection 2015.


Larval zebrafish (Danio rerio) have become favored subjects for studying the neural bases of behavior. Here, we report a highly stereotyped response of zebrafish larvae to hydrodynamic stimuli. It involves positive taxis, motion damping and sustained responsiveness to flows derived from local, non-stressful water motions. The response depends on the lateral line and has a high sensitivity to stimulus frequency and strength, sensory background and rearing conditions--also encompassing increased threshold levels of response to parallel input. The results show that zebrafish larvae can use near-field detection to locate sources of minute water motions, and offer a unique handle for analyses of hydrodynamic sensing, sensory responsiveness and arousal with accurate control of stimulus properties.

Keywords: behavior; hydrodynamic sensing; larval zebrafish; lateral line; sensory responsiveness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Larva
  • Lateral Line System / physiology*
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Water
  • Zebrafish / physiology*


  • Water