Visual sensation of an ethological stimulus, the agonistic display of Betta splendens, revealed using multi-unit recordings from optic tectum

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We made multi-unit recordings from the optic tectum of Betta splendens while they viewed the agonistic display of conspecifics. Movement of displaying animals evoked brisk, arrhythmic bursting in tectal units. Particularly high frequency spike bursts coincided with the onset of full display, a behavioral element known to be of ethological significance. These results show that it is possible to obtain informative electrophysiological recordings from optic tectum using behaving conspecifics as stimuli. More frequent use of natural stimuli can be expected to contribute to a greater understanding of the link between the neural substrates of vision and visually guided behavior.

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