What a predator can teach us about visual processing: a lesson from the archerfish Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • The archerfish is a predator with highly unusual visually guided behavior. It is most famous for its ability to hunt by shooting water jets at static or dynamic insect prey, up to two meters above the water's surface. In the lab, the archerfish can learn to distinguish and shoot at artificial targets presented on a computer screen, thus enabling well-controlled experiments. In recent years, these capacities have turned the archerfish into a model animal for studying a variety of visual functions, from visual saliency and visual search, through fast visually guided prediction, and all the way to higher level visual processing such as face recognition. Here we review these recent developments and show how they fall into two emerging lines of research on this animal model. The first is ethologically motivated and emphasizes how the natural environment and habitat of the archerfish interact with its visual processing during predation. The second is driven by parallels to the primate brain and aims to determine whether the latter's characteristic visual information processing capacities can also be found in the qualitatively different fish brain, thereby underscoring the functional universality of certain visual processes. We discuss the differences between these two lines of research and possible future directions.

publication date

  • January 1, 2018