Valente, André, Kuo-Hua Huang, Ruben Portugues, and Florian Engert. 2012. Ontogeny of classical and operant learning behaviors in zebrafish. Learning & Memory 19(4): 170-177.
The performance of developing zebrafish in both classical and operant conditioning assays was tested with a particular focus on the emergence of these learning behaviors during development. Strategically positioned visual cues paired with electroshocks were used in two fully automated assays to investigate both learning paradigms. These allow the evaluation of the behavioral performance of zebrafish continuously throughout development, from larva to adult. We found that learning improves throughout development, starts reliably around week 3, and reaches adult performance levels at week 6. Adult fish quickly learned to perform perfectly, and the expression of the learned behavior is manifestly controlled by vision. The memory is behaviorally expressed in adults for at least 6 h and retrievable for at least 12 h.