Avoidance learning in goldfish (Carassius auratus) and trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and implications for Pain perception

Dunlop, R., Millsopp, S. and Laming, P. (2006) Avoidance learning in goldfish (Carassius auratus) and trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and implications for Pain perception. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 97 2-4: 255-271. doi:10.1016/j.applanim.2005.06.018

Author Dunlop, R.
Millsopp, S.
Laming, P.
Title Avoidance learning in goldfish (Carassius auratus) and trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and implications for Pain perception
Journal name Applied Animal Behaviour Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0168-1591
Publication date 2006-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2005.06.018
Volume 97
Issue 2-4
Start page 255
End page 271
Total pages 17
Place of publication Amsterdam
Publisher Elsevier Science Bv
Language eng
Subject 300505 Anatomy and Physiology
300500 Veterinary Sciences
Abstract This paper investigates spatially cued behavioural responses of two species of fish to an acute noxious stimulus and demonstrates response elasticity. Typical avoidance responses to a nociceptive stimulus were used to test (1) if fish learn to avoid spatial areas associated with a potentially noxious stimulus, (2) learning and memory improves with increased stimulus intensity and (3) a supposedly innate reflex behavioural responses change depending on the circumstances. Electric shocks with two different intensities, low (2.5 V and 3 V for trout and goldfish, respectively) and high (25 V and 30 V for trout and goldfish, respectively), were administered directly to the skin to stimulate cutaneous nociceptors. Goldfish (n = 8) demonstrated spatially cued shock avoidance and an increase in stimulus voltage, significantly improved shock-avoidance learning and memory. However, trout (n = 8) demonstrated shock-avoidance learning but no significant stimulus discrimination and little information retention. The presence of a conspecific significantly changed this behavioural response to a noxious stimulus. Trout were willing to remain in the vicinity of the conspecific while being subjected to low intensity shock stimuli previously shown to elicit avoidance. Goldfish tended to leave this area yet remain in the mid-tank area, adjacent to the stimulating zone, rather than at the end of the tank. These results suggest that shock avoidance in fish is not purely a reflex action. Fish were prepared to change the supposedly innate avoidance reaction according to a change in circumstances, an important concept in the ongoing debate on pain perception in fish. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Keyword Agriculture, Dairy & Animal Science
Behavioral Sciences
Veterinary Sciences
pain shock avoidance
rainbow trout
Memory Formation
Shock Intensity
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
School of Veterinary Science Publications
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 60 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 67 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Sat, 29 Mar 2008, 01:33:04 EST