Behavioral laterality is advantageous to foraging, defending against competitors, being vigilant against predators, or attending to prospective mates. While lateralized behaviors are thought to be strengthened over time, it remains unclear how they are acquired during development.
Yoichi Oda of Nagoya University and Yuichi Takeuchi of the University of Toyama have now revealed how and when behavioral laterality arises. They did this by using the scale-eating predator cichlid Perissodus microlepis (P. microlepis), found in Lake Tanganyika in Africa, at its developing stage. They recently published their findings in Scientific Reports.
P - Microlepis - Model - Laterality - Adult
"P. microlepis is an attractive model of behavioral laterality because the adult fish exhibits clear asymmetric mouth morphology and conspicuously lateralized predatory behaviour; left- or right-sided attack of the prey fish," study corresponding author Takeuchi says. "Importantly, we successfully bred P. microlepis in our laboratory -- a challenging feat by any measure. This has allowed us to investigate how the development of behavioral laterality depends on experience."
The researchers found that naive juvenile P. microlepis with no prior scale-eating experience started attacking prey on both sides, but they gradually tended to attack the...
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