Left or Right? Researchers Study How Zebrafish Make Decisions

Imagine you are a larval zebrafish. You hear something: the sound of a predator racing towards you. You turn hard to your left. How did you decide to turn left instead of right? Prof. Joseph R. Fetcho, neurobiology and behavior, and colleagues followed how this decision is made by mapping the circuit of neurons from the sensory input of the sound of a potential predator to the behavioral output of the actual muscle movement in their study: ‘A circuit motif in the zebrafish hindbrain for a two alternative behavioral choice to turn left or right.’

Zebrafish turn rapidly to the left or right as an escape behavior when they perceive signs of predators.