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Abstract

The ontogeny of antipredator behaviour of paradise fish was examined using a simple testing method. The results showed that the ability to recognize eyespots appears in larvae between 15 and 20 days old. At the same time, two horizontally placed eyespots produced the most pronounced effect on the behaviour of the larvae. Testing different inbred strains revealed that the ontogeny of antipredator behaviour is also under broad genetic control, as the response to a model predator was strong in one strain but weak in another. The results suggest that the recognition of eyespots coincides with larvae becoming more conspicuous to predators by the appearance of pigmentation and increasing level of swimming activity (exploration).