Recognition of natural objects in the archerfish

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2 Scopus citations


Recognition of individual objects and their categorization is a complex computational task. Nevertheless, visual systems can perform this task in a rapid and accurate manner. Humans and other animals can efficiently recognize objects despite countless variations in their projection on the retina due to different viewing angles, distance, illumination conditions and other parameters. To gain a better understanding of the recognition process in teleosts, we explored it in archerfish, a species that hunts by shooting a jet of water at aerial targets and thus can benefit from ecologically relevant recognition of natural objects. We found that archerfish not only can categorize objects into relevant classes but also can do so for novel objects, and additionally they can recognize an individual object presented under different conditions. To understand the mechanisms underlying this capability, we developed a computational model based on object features and a machine learning classifier. The analysis of the model revealed that a small number of features was sufficient for categorization, and the fish were more sensitive to object contours than textures. We tested these predictions in additional behavioral experiments and validated them. Our findings suggest the existence of a complex visual process in the archerfish visual system that enables object recognition and categorization.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberjeb243237
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2022


  • Computational model
  • Object categorization
  • Visual object recognition
  • Visual system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Physiology


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