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An eye for a worm: Lateralisation of feeding behaviour in aquatic anamniotes

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Some animals, notably birds, preferentially approach and capture food items in their right visual field. However, this lateralised behaviour has not been studied extensively in anamniotes. Here we test eye preference during feeding for a fish, (Perccottus glenii; Teleostei, Perciformes), a newt, (Pleurodeles walti; Amphibia, Caudata), and a frog, (Xenopus laevis; Amphibia, Anura) using a test chamber that assesses reaction to visual stimuli while blocking olfactory and mechanical input. Both the fish and the newt showed right preferences in reactions to food items, but the frog did not. Our data extend our knowledge of the lateralised behaviours of vertebrates and are the first record of lateralised prey capture in a caudate amphibian. This finding dates back the history of the common pattern for visual lateralisation in vertebrates to Devonian, when the fish and quadruped lineages diverged.
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Keywords: Amphibians; Caudata; Eye preference; Fish; Lateralisation; Prey-catching behaviour

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: St. Petersburg State University, St Petersburg, Russia

Publication date: September 1, 2008

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