Meeting Abstract

P1-74  Thursday, Jan. 4 15:30 - 17:30  Behavior and neural activation patterns of non-redundant visual and acoustic signaling during courtship in an African cichlid fish KING, T/P*; TRAMONTANA, B; MARUSKA, K/P; Louisiana State Univ.; Louisiana State Univ.; Louisiana State Univ.

Animals live in a multisensory world and use different sensory channels to communicate during crucial behavioral contexts such as aggression and reproduction. Despite the importance of multimodal communication, there are relatively few species in which information on sender signals and receiver responses are known. Further, little is known about where in the brain context-dependent unimodal and multimodal information is processed to produce adaptive behaviors. Dominant male African cichlids, Astatotilapia burtoni , produce low frequency sounds during their visual courtship quiver displays directed towards receptive females, providing an ideal system to examine multimodal signaling from both behavioral and neural perspectives. We quantified affiliation behaviors and neural activation patterns in gravid females that were exposed to visual, acoustic, and visual-acoustic signals from courting dominant males. Females showed similar affiliation behaviors during visual and visual-acoustic conditions, but affiliation was reduced in acoustic only trials. These different female receiver responses in each unimodal signal condition indicates that visual and acoustic signals are non-redundant (convey multiple messages) in this reproductive context. Similar affiliation responses in visual only and visual-acoustic trials indicate that visual information dominates acoustic. Using the neural activation marker cfos, we also identified differential activation in specific socially-relevant brain nuclei between unimodal and multimodal conditions. Combined with our previous work on chemosensory signaling, we propose that A. burtoni represents a valuable vertebrate model for studying context-dependent behavioral and neural decision rules associated with non-redundant multimodal communication.