Cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis: Cephalopoda) hunting behavior and associative learning
- 847 Downloads
Because most learning studies in cephalopods have been performed on octopods, it remains unclear whether such abilities are specific to octopus, or whether they correlate with having a larger and more centrally organized brain. To investigate associative learning in a different cephalopod, six sexually mature cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) participated in a counterbalanced, within-subjects, appetitive, classical conditioning procedure. Two plastic spheres (conditioned stimuli, CSs), differing in brightness, were presented sequentially. Presentation of the CS+ was followed 5 s later by a live feeder fish (unconditioned stimulus, US). Cuttlefish began to attack the CS+ with the same type of food-acquisition seizures used to capture the feeder fish. After seven blocks of training (42 presentations of each CS) the difference in seizure probability between CS+ and CS− trials more than doubled; and was found to be significantly higher in late versus early blocks. These results indicate that cuttlefish exhibit autoshaping under some conditions. The possible ecological significance of this type of learning is briefly discussed.
KeywordsMollusca Invertebrate Foraging Autoshaping Associative conditioning
This research was funded by a grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to S.A. Adamo. This study was approved by the Dalhousie University Animal Care Committee.
S1 This video shows a CS- trial followed by a CS+ trial from block 7 for Cuttlefish #7. 7 During the CS- trial the cuttlefish initially moves away, eventually orients to, but does 8 not approach the CS. During the CS+ trial, the cuttlefish’s first strike is directed towards 9 the CS, and the second strike captures the fish (US).
mpg (30 MB)
- Budelmann B (1995) The cephalopod nervous system: what evolution has made of the molluscan design. In: Breidbach O, Kutsch W (eds) The nervous system of invertebrates: an evolutionary and comparative approach. Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel, pp 115–136Google Scholar
- Fiorito G, Scotto P (1992) Observational learning in Octopus vulgaris. Science 256:545–547Google Scholar
- Hearst E, Jenkins HM (1974) Sign-tracking: the stimulus-reinforcer relation and directed action. Psychonomic Society, AustinGoogle Scholar
- Mather J (1995) Cognition in cephalopods. Adv Study Behav 24:317–353Google Scholar
- Messenger J (1973) Learning in the cuttlefish, Sepia. Anim Behav 21:801–826Google Scholar
- Teichert C (1988) Main features of cephalopod evolution. In: Clark M, Trueman E (eds) The Mollusca: paleontology and neonatology of cephalopods. Academic, San Diego, pp 215–288Google Scholar
- Terrace H, Gibbon J, Farrell L, Baldock M (1975) Temporal factors influencing the acquisition of an autoshaped keypeck. Anim Learn Behav 3:53–62Google Scholar
- Tomie A, Brooks W, Zito B (1989) Sign-tracking: the search for reward. In: Klein S, Mowrer R (eds) Contemporary learning theories: Pavlovian conditioning and the status of traditional learning theory. Erlbaum, Hillsdale, pp 191–223Google Scholar