Brain Difference May Alter Fish Feeding

GUELPH, Ontario, Aug. 4 (UPI) — Whether a fish likes to pursue its food or wait for home delivery is linked to the structure of its brain, a Canadian researcher says.

Biology Professor Rob McLaughlin of the University of Guelph in Ontario says the foraging behavior of brook trout is related to the size of a particular region of the fish’s brain, a university release reported Wednesday.

“We found that the fish that swim around in the open in search of food have larger telencephalons than the fish that sit along the shoreline and wait for food to swim by in the water column,” McLaughlin said.

The telencephalon is a brain region involved with fish movement and use of space.

Brook trout display two personality types, McLaughlin said, those that are active foragers and appear to be risk-takers, and those that are sedentary and apparently more timid.

Although the research suggests the fish’s feeding activity is tied to brain structure, McLaughlin said it is still not known whether behavioral differences reflect initial differences in the brain, or whether the brain changes in response to differences in behavior.

“It’s possible there is something in the environment or in the fish’s genetic makeup that is making some fish more active than others, and this level of activity is altering the brain,” he said.

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Categorized | Fish, Other
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