A scalable assay for chemical preference of small freshwater fish

B. Gallois , L.L. Pontani , G. Debrégeas , R. Candelier

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Published 13 Jul. 2022
DOI: 10.1101/2022.07.10.499464


Sensing the chemical world is of primary importance for aquatic organisms, and small freshwater fish are increasingly used in toxicology, ethology, and neuroscience by virtue of their ease of manipulation, tissue imaging amenability, and genetic tractability. However, precise behavioral analyses are generally challenging to perform due to the lack of knowledge of what chemical the fish are exposed to at any given moment. Here we developed a behavioral assay and a specific infrared dye to probe the preference of young zebrafish for virtually any compound. We found that the innate aversion of zebrafish to citric acid is not mediated by modulation of the swim but rather by immediate avoidance reactions when the product is sensed and that the preference of juvenile zebrafish for ATP changes from repulsion to attraction during successive exposures. We propose an information-based behavioral model for which an exploration index emerges as a relevant behavioral descriptor, complementary to the standard preference index. Our setup features a high versatility in protocols and is automatic and scalable, which paves the way for high-throughput preference compound screening at different ages.

Cette publication est associée à :

Imagerie calcique et comportement du poisson zèbre et Danionella translucida