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Animal models

Danio Rerio

The zebrafish is an endemic species to the Asian continent, but it has been in laboratories around the world for a few decades!


Due to the high genetic and biochemical similarity with human beings, the zebrafish has gained space on the benches and has enabled science to better understand embryonic development, drugs of abuse, toxicology, behavioral differences, genetics, neuroscience, and even some diseases.

In addition to its small size - taking up less space in laboratories - the Fish Lab's main animal model also has an advantage in its rapid embryonic development, helping to lower costs and accelerate the results of scientific research.

Stegastes fuscus

The damselfish is a small reef fish, measuring about 15 cm, and is very common on the Brazilian coast.


At the Fish Lab, we use one of the six species of damselfish from the Brazilian coast, Stegastes fuscus. They are territorial animals and aggressively defend their space.


This animal model has helped us learn more about rising ocean temperatures, aggressive behavior, and even learning and memory.



Embryotoxic Effects of Pesticides in Zebrafish (Danio rerio): Diflubenzuron, Pyriproxyfen, and Its Mixtures. Teixeira, J.R.d.S.; de Souza, A.M.; Macedo-Sampaio, J.V.d.; Menezes, F.P.; Pereira, B.F.; de Medeiros, S.R.B. & Luchiari, A.C.  Toxics, 2024.


Long-term effects of embryonic exposure to benzophenone-3 on neurotoxicity and behavior of adult zebrafish. Moreira, A. L. P., Souza, J. A. C. R., de Souza, J. F., Mamede, J. P. M., Farias, D & Luchiari, A. C.,  Science of The Total Environment, 2023.


Assessment of acute toxicity of crude extract rich in carotenoids from Cantaloupe melon (Cucumis melo L.) and the gelatin-based nanoparticles using the zebrafish (Danio rerio) model. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2023.


Individual differences in response to alcohol and nicotine in zebrafish: Gene expression and behavior. Araujo‐Silva, H., Souza, A. M., Mamede, J. P. M., de Medeiros, S. R. B. & Luchiari, A. C. Development, Growth & Differentiation, 2023.


Impact of ocean warming on a coral reef fish learning and memory. Silveira, M. M., Donelson, J. M., McCormick, M. I., Araujo-Silva, H. & Luchiari, A. C. PeerJ, 2023.


Expanding the use of homebase-related parameters to investigate how distinct stressful conditions affect zebrafish behaviors. Borba, J. V., Gonçalves, F. L., Canzian, J., Resmim, C. M., Luchiari, A. C. & Rosemberg, D. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 2023.


Different housing conditions for zebrafish: What are the effects? Silva, P. F., Garcia de Leaniz, C., Freire, F. A. M., Silveira, V. A. M. & Luchiari, A. C.. Behavioural Processes, 2023.


Relationship between boldness and exploratory behavior in adult zebrafish. Santos, C. P., Oliveira, M. N., Silva, Ana, P. F. & Luchiari, A. C.. Behavioural Processes, 2023.


Benzophenone-3 causes oxidative stress in the brain and impairs aversive memory in adult zebrafish. Moreira, A. L. P., Paiva, W. S., Souza, A. M., Pereira, M. C. G., Rocha, H. A. O., de Medeiros, S. R. B. & Luchiari, A. C. Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology, 2023.


Editorial: Environmental enrichment in fish models: from mechanisms to behavior.  Silva, P. F., Menezes, F. P. & Luchiari, A. C. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 2023.


Long-term behavioral alterations following embryonic alcohol exposure in three zebrafish populations. Agues-Barbosa, T., Souza, A. M., Gomes-de-Lima, J. M. & Luchiari, A. C. NeuroToxicology, 2023.


Fish and chips: Using machine learning to estimate the effects of basal cortisol on fish foraging behavior. Bessa, W. M., Cadengue, L. S. & Luchiari, A. C. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 2023.


Embryotoxicity and visual-motor response of functionalized nanostructured hydroxyapatite-based biomaterials in zebrafish (Danio rerio). Souza, A. M., Araujo-Silva, H., Rossi, A. L., Rossi, A. M., Granjeiro, J. M., Luchiari, A. C. && Batistuzzo de Medeiros, S. R. Chemosphere, 2023.


Sound stimulus effects on dusky damselfish behavior and cognition. de Souza, J. F., Silveira, M. M., Barcellos, H. H. A., Barcellos, L. J. G. & Luchiari, A. C. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 2022.


Variation in nest building, aggression, learning, and steroid hormone levels in Betta splendens. Agues-Barbosa, ., Andrade, P. V. C., Silva, P. F., de Almeida Moura, C., Galvão. N. L., Freire, F. A. M. & Luchiari, A. C. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 2022.


Alcohol exposure and environmental enrichment effects on contextual fear conditioning in zebrafish. Menezes, F. P., Amorim, R. R., Silva, P. F. Behavioural Processes, 2022.


Behavioral genetics of alcohol's effects in three zebrafish (Danio rerio) populations. Agues-Barbosa, T., da Silva Junior, F. C., Gomes-de-Lima, J. N., Batistuzzo de Medeiros, S. R., & Luchiari, A. C. Progress in neuropsycho-pharmacology & biological psychiatry, 2022. 


Effects of oxybenzone on zebrafish behavior and cognition. Moreira, Ana Luisa Pires, and Ana Carolina Luchiari.

Science of The Total Environment, 2022.


Covariation among behavioral traits and hatching time in zebrafish. Silva, B. W. F., Leite-Ferreira, M. E., Menezes, F. P. & Luchiari, A. C. Behavioural Processes, 2022.


Genotoxicity and behavioral alterations induced by retene in adult zebrafish. da Silva Junior, F. C., Agues-Barbosa, T., Luchiari, A. C., & de Medeiros, S. R. B. Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering, 2021.


Individual differences guide mate choice in the fighting fish (Betta splendens). J..J. Oliveira1P. F. SilvaF. A. LopesA. C. Journal of Comp Psychology, 2021.


Editorial: Zebrafish Cognition and Behavior. Luchiari, A. C., Málaga-Trillo, E., Tran, S., & Gerlai, R. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 2021


Embryonic ethanol exposure on zebrafish early development.  Pinheiro‐da‐Silva, J., & Luchiari, A. C. Brain and Behavior, 2021,


Agonistic behavior is affected by memory in the Dusky Damselfish Stegastes fuscus. Silveira, M. M., De Souza, J. F., Araujo-Silva, H., & Luchiari, A. C. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 2021


Erythroxylum pungens Tropane Alkaloids: GC-MS Analysis and the Bioactive Potential of 3-(2-methylbutyryloxy) tropan-6, 7-diol in Zebrafish (Danio rerio). Moreira, L. G. L., Ferreira, M. E. L., Reginaldo, F. P. S., Lourenço, E. M. G., Zuanazzi, J. A. S., Barbosa, E. G., ... & Giordani, R. B. Planta Medica, 2021


Loss of light colour preference after chronic embryonic stress in rainbow trout fry: A novel and potential indicator of fish welfare? Colson, V., Ferreira, V. H. B., Luchiari, A. C., Valotaire, C., Borel, F., Bugeon, J., ... & Guesdon, V. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 2021. 


Does early ethanol exposure increase seeking‐like behavior in zebrafish? Pinheiro‐da‐Silva, J., Araujo‐Silva, H., & Luchiari, A. C. International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience, 2021


Zebrafish as an emerging model system in the global south: Two decades of research in Brazil. Trigueiro, N.S.S, Canedo, A., Braga, D.L.S., Luchiari, A.C. & Rocha, T.L. Zebrafish, 2020.


Early mistreatment contributes to social behavior disorders in zebrafish. Menezes, F.P., Souza, I.P., & Luchiari, A.C. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 2020.


Embryonic exposure to ethanol increases anxiety-like behavior in fry zebrafish. Pinheiro-da-Silva, J., Agues-Barbosa, T., & Luchiari, A.C. Alcohol and Alcoholism, 2020.


Behavioral screening of alcohol effects and individual differences in zebrafish (Danio rerio). Araujo-Silva, H, Leite-Ferreira, M. E., & Luchiari, A.C. Alcohol and Alcoholism, 2020.


Damselfish face climate change: Impact of temperature and habitat structure on agonistic behavior. Silva-Pinto, T., Silveira, M.M., Souza, J.F., Moreira, A.L.P., Vieira, E.A., Longo, G.O.,  & Luchiari, A.C. Plos One, 2020.


Fighting off the intruder: context-dependent territory defense in the damselfish Stegastes fuscus. Silveira, M.M., Silva, P.F., Ferreira, R.G., & Luchiari, A.C. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 2020.


Individual differences in hatching time predict alcohol response in zebrafish. Leite-Ferreira, M. E., Araujo-Silva, H, & Luchiari, A.C. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 2019.


It’s Tea Time: Interference of Ayahuasca brew on discriminative learning in zebrafish. Lobao-Soares, B., Eduardo-da-Silva, P., Amarilha, H., Pinheiro-da-Silva, J., Silva, P.F.,& Luchiari, A.C. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 2018.


Individual differences in response to alcohol exposure in zebrafish (Danio rerio). Araujo-Silva, H., Pinheiro-da-Silva, J., Silva, P. F.,& Luchiari, A.C. Plos One, 2018.


Zebra fitness: Learning and anxiety after physical exercise in zebrafish. Silveira, M.M., Silveira, J., Agues-Barbosa, T., Carvalho, M., Silva, P. F.,& Luchiari, A.C. In:  Recent Advances in Zebrafish Researches (Ed. Mattila M.), 2018.


Sleep deprivation impairs cognitive performance in zebrafish: A matter of fact? Pinheiro-da-Silva, J., Tran, S., & Luchiari, A.C. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 2018.


Not tonight zebrafish: the effects of Ruta graveolens on reproduction. Forsatkar, M.N., HedayatiRad, M., & Luchiari, A.C. Pharmaceutical Biology, 2018.


Behavioral changes over time following Ayahuasca exposure in zebrafish. Savoldi, R., Polari, D., Pinheiro-da-Silva, J., Silva, P.F., Lobo-Soares, B., Yonamine, M., Freire, F.A.M. & Luchiari, A.C. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 2017. 


Effects of alcohol on inhibitory avoidance learning in zebrafish (Danio rerio). Amorim, R.R., Silva, P.F. & Luchiari, A.C. Zebrafish, 2017. 


Ayahuasca: the Good, the Bad and the Worse. Silva, P.F. & Luchiari, A.C. EC Psychology and Psychiatry, 2017. 


Good night, sleep tight: The effects of sleep deprivation on spatial associative learning in zebrafish. Pinheiro-da-Silva, J., Tran, S., Silva, P.F. & Luchiari, A.C. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 2017. 


Time place learning and activity profile under constant light and constant dark in zebrafish (Danio rerio).  Moura, C. A., Lima, J.P.S., Silveira, V.A.M., Miguel, M.A.L. & Luchiari, A.C. Behavioural Processes, 2017. 


Sleep deprivation effects on object discrimination task in zebrafish (Danio rerio). Pinheiro-da-Silva, J., Silva, P.F., Nogueira, M.B. & Luchiari, A.C. Animal Cognition, 2017. 


Caffeine dose-response relationship and behavioral screening in zebrafish. Santos, L.C., Ruiz-Oliveira, J., Silva, P.F., & Luchiari, A.C. In: The Question of Caffeine (Ed. Bozicevic M.), 2017.


Associative learning in the multi chamber tank: A new learning paradigm for zebrafish. Fernandes, Y.M., Rampersad, M., Luchiari, A.C. & Gerlai, R. Behavioural Brain Research, 2016. 


Time-place learning in the zebrafish (Danio rerio). Moura, C.A. & Luchiari, A.C. Behavioural Processes, 2016. 


Irish coffee: Effects of alcohol and caffeine on objects discrimination in zebrafish. Santos, L.C., Ruiz-Oliveira, J., Oliveira, J.J., Silva, P.F., Luchiari, A.C. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 2016.


How Betta splendens finds its way. Luchiari, A.C. Behavioural Processes, 2016.


Agonistic Interaction in the male fiddler crab Uca leptodactyla Rathbun, 1898 at Varying densities. Santos, L. C.; Alencar, C. E. R. D.; Freire, F. A. M. & Luchiari, A. C. Crustaceana. 2015.


Acute and chronic alcohol administration: Effects on performance of zebrafish in a latent learning task. Luchiari, A. C.; Salajan, D. C. & Gerlai, R. Behavioural Brain Research. 2015.


Dose-Dependent Effects of Alcohol on Seeking Behavior and Memory in the Fish Betta splendens. Luchiari, A. C.; Chacon, D. M. & Oliveira, J. J. Psychology & Neuroscience. 2015. 


The zebrafish world of colors and shapes: preference and discrimination. Oliveira, J. J.; Silveira, M. M.; Chacon, D. M. & Luchiari, A. C. Zebrafish. 2015.


Dusky damselfish Stegastes fuscus relational learning: evidences from associative and spatial tasks. Silveira, M. M.; Oliveira, J. J. & Luchiari, A. C. Journal of Fish Biology. 2015.


The interaction of innate and imposed colour perception: a behavioural approach. Luchiari, A. C. & Oliveira, J. J. Journal of Ethology. 2014.


A dose for the wiser is enough: The alcohol benefits for associative learning in zebrafish. Chacon, D. M. & Luchiari, A. C. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry. 2014.


Physical exercise improves learning in zebrafish, Danio rerio. Luchiari, A. C. & Chacon, D. M. Behavioural Processes. 2013.


Effects of substrate colour preference on growth of the shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei (Boone, 1931) (Decapoda, Penaeoidea).  Luchiari, A. C.; Marques, A. O. & Freire, F. A. M. Crustaceana. 2012.


Environmental substrate selection and daily habitual activity in Xiphopenaeus kroyeri shrimp (Heller, 1862)(Crustacea: Penaeioidea). Freire, F. A. M.; Luchiari, A. C. & Fransozo, V. Indian Journal of Geo-Marine Science. 2011. 


Longer wavelengths of light improve the growth, intake and feed efficiency of individually reared juvenile pikeperch Sander lucioperca (L.) Luchiari, A. C.; Freire, F. A. M.; Pirhonen, J. & Koskela, J. Aquaculture Research. 2009.


Effects of environmental colour on growth of Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus (Linnaeus, 1758), maintained individually or in groups. Luchiari, A. C. & Freire, F. A. M. Journal of Applied Ichthyology. 2009.


Effects of ambient colour on colour preference and growth of juvenile rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss (Walbaum). Luchiari, A. C. & Pirhonen, J. Journal of Fish Biology. 2008.


Hierarchical status and colour preference in Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). Luchiari, A. C.; Duarte, C. R. A.; Freire, F. A. & Nissinen, K. Journal of Ethology. 2007.


Time-place learning in individually reared angelfish, but not in pearl cichlid. Barreto, R. E., Luchiari, A. C. & Delicio, H. C. Behavioural Processes. 2006.


Testing time-place learning in the cichlid fish Nile tilapia. Delicio, H.; Luchiari, A. C.; Barreto, R. E. & Marcondes, A. L. Journal of Ethology. 2006.


Light intensity preference of juvenile pikeperch Sander lucioperca (l.) Luchiari, A. C.; Freire, F. A. M.; Koskela, J. & Pirhonen, J. Aquaculture Research. 2006.


A place preference test in the fish Nile tilapia. Delicio, H. C.; Barreto, R. E.; Normandes, E. B.; Luchiari, A. C. & Marcondes, A. L. Journal of Experimental Animal Science. 2006.


Environmental color affects Nile tilapia reproduction. Volpato, G. L.; Duarte, C. R.A. & Luchiari, A. C. Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research. 2004.


Ventilatory frequency indicates visual recognition of an allopatric predator in naive Nile tilapia. Barreto, R. E.; Luchiari, A. C. & Marcondes, A. L. Behavioural Processes. 2003.


Eye color as an indicator of social rank in the Nile tilapia. Volpato, G. L.; Luchiari, A. C.; Duarte, C. R. A.; Barreto, R. E. & Ramanzini, G. C. Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research. 2003.

Research lines

Learning and Memory

Learning is a process in which experiences are recorded and allow animals to respond to events differently as it provides behavioral flexibility. And this phenomenon has been of great interest from an immediate and functional point of view. Learning often promotes the formation of memories.


Memory is one of the most relevant cognitive processes, as it allows us to retain information from experience. However, many conditions and diseases disrupt learning and memory processes, causing huge damage to normal life.  In our laboratory, we seek to develop new learning and memory protocols to test a range of elements that can improve or disrupt the development of these processes.

Effects of Drugs of Abuse on Behavior

Drugs are substances that modify, increase, inhibit or reinforce the physiological, psychological, or immunological functions of the body. Here, we investigate some legal drugs, such as alcohol,  nicotine, caffeine, and also other medical drugs, such as antidepressants and anxiolytics.


Alcohol is the most popular recreational drug and the costs and consequences of alcoholism pose an enormous burden to society. In moderate amounts, it has stimulant and anxiolytic effects that, in many cases, are associated with the development of addiction. In high doses, it causes loss of motor control, disorientation, and sedation, considered to be the drug's depressant effects.


Caffeine is a very popular psychoactive stimulant. Depending on the amount consumed, it causes physiological and behavioral changes, such as increased heart rate and alertness, as well as reduced fatigue and sleepiness. Caffeine is also involved in some symptoms of insomnia and anxiety.

Overall, we focus on determining the effects of these drugs on behavior, characterizing behavior under the acute and chronic effects of the drug, but in addition, the effects of drugs on learning and memory processes.

Sleep and Sleep Deprivation

Sleep is a widespread phenomenon characterized by altered consciousness and decreased sensory and voluntary activities. Studies suggest that prolonged sleep deprivation can induce a decline in attention and memory loss, which can lead to great impairment in learning.


The extent to which sleep deprivation can affect normal behavior and learning is one of our focuses of study. Sleeping seems to be such an important event that even aversive learning is impaired. In addition, we want to understand how the light cycle can interfere with normal sleep behavior and affect learning over a long period of time.

Individual differences

Each animal's response to environmental challenges varies according to its individual differences. These differences are called "animal personality". The most investigated personality trait is bold-and-shy, which has been shown to confer different advantages on those classified as shy or bold. the boldest males take advantage of mate choice due to females' preference for the trait, however, shy males seem to live longer and learn tasks involving environmental cues more quickly due to their greater attention and caution. Thus, natural selection and sexual selection are acting to maintain these personality traits in the animal population.

In our lab, we try to develop new tasks to classify fish according to their personality tests, not just bold-shy, but also sociability, risk-taking, exploration, and more. We then investigate the differences between males and females and the influence of behavioral traits on mate choice, nest building, aggression, and drug-seeking behavior.

Efeitos de poluentes no comportamento
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O crescente uso de produtos químicos, associado ao estilo de vida moderno, tem levado ao aumento considerável da poluição química das águas. No entando, seus efeitos à saúde humana e impactos à biota aquática e meio ambiente ainda são pouco conhecidos.


Os poluentes conhecidos como “emergentes” são aqueles compostos novos ou previamente desconhecidos, ou ainda aqueles já conhecidos mas que não possuem seus efeitos como contaminante ambiental totalmente elucidados e são representados por uma grande variedade de compostos - incluindo fármacos, pesticidas, microplásticos e compostos presentes em produtos de higiene pessoal, como as benzofenonas, utilizadas como filtros UV.

Em nosso laboratório, estudamos os efeitos da exposição à diferentes poluentes no comportamento e capacidade cognitiva de zebrafish e do peixe donzela Stegastes fuscus, buscando entender os possíveis impactos a longo prazo dos poluentes na ecologia destas e outras espécies.


Fish Lab Publications

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