Avoidance conditioning in bamboo sharks

paper8Published on 01. October 2013

Avoidance conditioning in bamboo sharks (Chiloscyllium griseum and C. punctatum): behavioral and neuroanatomical aspects

Susanne Schwarze, Horst Bleckmann, Vera Schluessel


Animals face different threats; to survive, they have to anticipate how to react or how to avoid these. It has already been shown in teleosts that selected regions in the telencephalon, i.e., the medial pallium, are involved in avoidance learning strategies. No such study exists for any chondrichthyan. In nature, an avoidance reaction may vary, ranging from a ‘freeze’ reaction to a startling response and quick escape. This study investigated whether elasmobranchs (Chiloscyllium griseum and C. punctatum) can be conditioned in an aversive classical conditioning paradigm. Upon successful conditioning, the dorsal, medial and lateral pallium were removed (group 1) and performance tested again. In a second group, the same operation was performed prior to training. While conditioning was successful in individuals of both groups, no escape responses were observed. Post-operative performance was assessed and compared between individual and groups to reveal if the neural substrates governing avoidance behavior or tasks learned in a classical conditioning paradigm are located within the telencephalon, as has been shown for teleosts such as goldfish.

Journal of Comparative Physiology A
October 2013, Volume 199, Issue 10, pp 843-856
DOI 10.1007/s00359-013-0847-1



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