Albino Xenopus laevis tadpoles prefer dark environments compared to wild type.
Tadpoles display preferences for different environments but the sensory modalities that govern these choices are not well understood. Here, we examined light preferences and associated sensory mechanisms of albino and wild-type Xenopus laevis tadpoles. We found that albino tadpoles spent more time in darker environments compared to the wild type, although they showed no differences in overall activity. This preference persisted when the tadpoles had their optic nerve severed or pineal glands removed, suggesting these sensory systems alone are not necessary for phototaxis. These experiments were conducted by an undergraduate laboratory course, highlighting how X. laevis tadpole behavior assays in a classroom setting can reveal new insights into animal behavior.
View details for DOI 10.17912/micropub.biology.000750
View details for PubMedID 36824381
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC9941856
Argentine ant extract induces an osm-9 dependent chemotaxis response in C. elegans.
Many ant species are equipped with chemical defenses, although how these compounds impact nervous system function is unclear. Here, we examined the utility of Caenorhabditis elegans chemotaxis assays for investigating how ant chemical defense compounds are detected by heterospecific nervous systems. We found that C. elegans respond to extracts from the invasive Argentine Ant ( Linepithema humile ) and the osm-9 ion channel is required for this response. Divergent strains varied in their response to L. humile extracts, suggesting genetic variation underlying chemotactic responses. These experiments were conducted by an undergraduate laboratory course, highlighting how C. elegans chemotaxis assays in a classroom setting can provide genuine research experiences and reveal new insights into interspecies interactions.
View details for DOI 10.17912/micropub.biology.000745
View details for PubMedID 37008729
Neural correlates of winning and losing fights in poison frog tadpoles.
Physiology & behavior
Aggressive competition for resources among juveniles is documented in many species, but the neural mechanisms regulating this behavior in young animals are poorly understood. In poison frogs, increased parental care is associated with decreased water volume of tadpole pools, resource limitation, and aggression. Indeed, the tadpoles of many poison frog species will attack, kill, and cannibalize other tadpoles. We examined the neural basis of conspecific aggression in Dyeing poison frog (Dendrobates tinctorius) tadpoles by comparing individuals that won aggressive encounters, lost aggressive encounters, or did not engage in a fight. We first compared patterns of generalized neural activity using immunohistochemical detection of phosphorylated ribosomes (pS6) as a proxy for neural activation associated with behavior. We found increased neural activity in the medial pallium and preoptic area of loser tadpoles, suggesting the amphibian homologs of the mammalian hippocampus and preoptic area may facilitate loser-associated behaviors. Nonapeptides (arginine vasotocin and mesotocin) and dopamine have been linked to aggression in other vertebrates and are located in the preoptic area. We next examined neural activity specifically in nonapeptide- and tyrosine-hydroxylase-positive cells using double-label immunohistochemistry. We found increased neural activity specifically in the preoptic area nonapeptide neurons of winners, whereas we found no differences in activity of dopaminergic cells among behavioral groups. Our findings suggest the neural correlates of aggression in poison frog tadpoles are similar to neural mechanisms mediating aggression in adults and juveniles of other vertebrate taxa.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.physbeh.2020.112973
View details for PubMedID 32446779