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Rapid acquisition of an appetitive conditioned response in an intertidal fish, Tridentiger trigonocephalus (Gobiidae), using an ethologically relevant conditioning paradigm

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Intertidal fishes have elaborated spatial cognitive abilities. In this study, we developed an appetitive conditioning paradigm for an intertidal fish species (the chameleon goby; Tridentiger trigonocephalus) that involves spatial components and ethologically relevant cue stimuli. The gobies rapidly acquired the conditioned anticipatory behaviour after only a few trials of paired presentations of virtual tidal changes and food rewards (which were only available in specific locations during a simulated high tide). The conditioned responses were retained after exposure to a 1 month period without trainings or tidal changes. The rapid acquisition and long-term retention of the conditioned responses indicates that the learning paradigm, which used a combination of water level changes and food availability in specific spatial locations, is biologically significant for this species. Taken together, these results suggest that spatial tasks combined with virtual tidal changes provide a suitable paradigm for evaluating spatial cognitive mechanisms in intertidal fishes.

Affiliations: 1: Graduate School of Biosphere Science, Hiroshima University, 1-4-4 Kagamiyama, Higashihiroshima, Hiroshima 739-8528, Japan


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