Submerged plus maze: a novel test for studying anxiety-like behaviour in fish

Faculty Advisor
elevated plus maze, submerged plus maze, Diazepam, anxiolytic, animal behavior, convict cichlid fish
Abstract (summary)
The elevated plus maze is a prominent and well-documented test for studying anxiety in rodents. Fish are becoming more prevalent in studies of anxiety, yet the elevated plus maze has not been adapted and validated for fish. In the present study, we created an aquatic version of the elevated plus maze called the ‘submerged plus maze,’ which is shaped like a plus symbol with four arms alternating between black and transparent walls. We used convict cichlid fish (Amatitlania nigrofasciata) and administered diazepam to validate the apparatus for studying anxiety-like behaviour. After diazepam exposure, fish spent more time in and entered more open arms than after vehicle exposure, consistent with the effect of benzodiazepines on rodents in the elevated plus maze. The submerged plus maze maintains construct validity for testing anxiety in convict cichlid fish.
Publication Information
Hope B, Hamilton TJ, Hurd P. (2019). Submerged plus maze: A new test for studying anxiety-like behaviour in fish. Behavioural Brain Research. 362: 332-337.
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