The Use of Hetero-specific Video Presentations to Elicit Anti-Predator Responses in Poecillia

Timothy C Gregg, Emma C Johnson, Zachary S Yarborough


Traditionally, studies involving intraspecific reactions between species have used live animals as the preferred method of experimentation and observation. However, there are many advantages to using electronic displays to elicit responses from animals within behavior experiments. As technologies have improved, new options have become available related to the use of video playback stimuli. These alternatives are more standardizable, replicable, and safer for the subjects and often easer to obtain than the real thing. Questions remain, however, about the suitability of replacing the presentation of live-response stimuli with alternatives like video playbacks. To determine the feasibility of using video stimuli in Guppies, we compared the anti-predator responses elicited from display screens projecting Crenicichla alta (African pike fish) and Hoplias malabaricus (wolf fish) to results obtained in previous studies using live animals. Zones were created to record time spent by the subject in proximity to predators or conspecific controls.

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