Archer Fish Laboratory – a model of early evolutionary species
We use the archer fish as a phylogenetic model of an early evolutionary species. Fish have an optic tectum but lack fully developed cortical structures. We selected this fish species to serve as our model because of its remarkable ability to shoot down insects found on foliage above the water level, and its ability to learn to distinguish between artificial targets presented on a computer monitor in an experimental setting. Thus, by virtue of the fact that the archer fish can participate in such controlled and complex experimental procedures its performance can be directly compared to that of human participants. The study of the archer fish offers us a unique opportunity to uncover the capabilities of lower order brain structures to different cognitive processes such as attention, perception memory and social interactions.