, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 69–79 | Cite as

Fluoxetine exposure impacts boldness in female Siamese fighting fish, Betta splendens

  • Teresa L. DzieweczynskiEmail author
  • Jessica L. Kane
  • Brennah A. Campbell
  • Lindsey E. Lavin


The present study examined the effects of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, fluoxetine, on the behavior of female Siamese fighting fish, Betta splendens, in three different boldness assays (Empty Tank, Novel Environment, Social Tendency). When females were unexposed to fluoxetine, boldness was consistent within a context and correlated across assays. Fluoxetine exposure affected behavior within and among individuals on multiple levels. Exposure reduced overall boldness levels, made females behave in a less consistent manner, and significantly reduced correlations over time and across contexts. Fluoxetine exerted its effects on female Betta splendens behavior in a dose-dependent fashion and these effects persisted even after females were housed in clean water. If fluoxetine exposure impacts behaviors such as exploration that are necessary to an individual’s success, this may yield evolutionary consequences. In conclusion, the results show that fluoxetine exposure alters behavior beyond the level of overall response and highlights the importance of studying the behavioral effects of inadvertent pharmaceutical exposure in multiple contexts and with different dosing regimes.


Inadvertent pharmaceutical exposure Fluoxetine Behavioral consistency Shy-bold continuum Siamese fighting fish 



The authors thank Brittney Logan for her assistance with data collection and fish care. They also thank Tori Doty, Nicole Greaney, Krystal Mannion, and Jodi Marks for their helpful feedback on an earlier version of this manuscript. Woon Yuen Koh provided statistical assistance. This work was funded by a University of New England Sponsored Programs grant to TLD (Grant # PDZ2).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Teresa L. Dzieweczynski
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jessica L. Kane
    • 1
  • Brennah A. Campbell
    • 1
  • Lindsey E. Lavin
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of New EnglandBiddefordUSA
  2. 2.College of Veterinary MedicineCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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