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Gaze stabilisation behaviour is anisotropic across visual field locations in zebrafish

By Florian Alexander Dehmelt, Rebecca Meier, Julian Hinz, Takeshi Yoshimatsu, Clara A Simacek, Kun Wang, Tom Baden, Aristides Arrenberg

Posted 04 Sep 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/754408

Many animals have large visual fields, and sensory circuits may sample those regions of visual space most relevant to behaviours such as gaze stabilisation and hunting. Despite this, relatively small displays are often used in vision neuroscience. To sample stimulus locations across most of the visual field, we built a spherical stimulus arena with 14,848 independently controllable LEDs, measured the optokinetic response gain of immobilised zebrafish larvae, and related behaviour to previously published retinal photoreceptor densities. We measured tuning to steradian stimulus size and spatial frequency, and show it to be independent of visual field position. However, zebrafish react most strongly and consistently to lateral, nearly equatorial stimuli, consistent with previously reported higher spatial densities in the central retina of red, green and blue photoreceptors. Upside-down experiments suggest further extra-retinal processing. Our results demonstrate that motion vision circuits in zebrafish are anisotropic, and preferentially monitor areas with putative behavioural relevance. Author summary The visual system of larval zebrafish mirrors many features present in the visual system of other vertebrates, including its ability to mediate optomotor and optokinetic behaviour. Although the presence of such behaviours and some of the underlying neural correlates have been firmly established, previous experiments did not consider the large visual field of zebrafish, which covers more than 160° for each eye. Given that different parts of the visual field likely carry unequal amount of behaviourally relevant information for the animal, this raises the question whether optic flow is integrated across the entire visual field or just parts of it, and how this shapes behaviour such as the optokinetic response. We constructed a spherical LED arena to present visual stimuli almost anywhere across their visual field, while tracking horizontal eye movements. By displaying moving gratings on this LED arena, we demonstrate that the optokinetic response, one of the most prominent visually induced behaviours of zebrafish, indeed strongly depends on stimulus location and stimulus size, as well as on other parameters such as the spatial and temporal frequency of the gratings. This location dependence is consistent with areas of high retinal photoreceptor densities, though evidence suggests further extraretinal processing. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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