Directional asymmetries in the optokinetic response of larval zebrafish (Danio rerio). Academic Article uri icon


  • Photographic images of the optokinetic response (OKR) of larval zebrafish permitted the calculation of the amplitude and velocity of the response to gratings of various spatial frequencies rotating at different speeds. At low spatial frequencies, the amplitude of the OKR did not vary significantly for drum speeds ranging from 24 to 108 degrees/sec. Plotting the velocity of the OKR as a function of drum speed gave rise to a bell-shaped curve, with a maximum at about 48 degrees/sec. Interestingly, both eyes exhibited an asymmetric response to the rotating drum, that is, they were more responsive to temporal-to-nasal rotation than to nasal-to-temporal motion. Although this asymmetry persisted over the entire range of drum speeds tested, the situation was reversed when tested with gratings of higher spatial frequency (i.e., the eyes became more responsive to rotation in the nasal-to-temporal direction). The amplitude of the OKR for both eyes exhibited an inverse relation to increasing spatial frequency of the stimulus, whereas the velocity of the OKR showed a steep decline within the range of 0.08 to 0.14 cycles/degree. The data indicate that zebrafish are more responsive to objects with low spatial frequencies moving from behind the animal's head toward the frontal plane, and to high spatial frequencies of objects moving across the frontal plane (perpendicular to the anterior-posterior axis of the eye).

publication date

  • 2005