Auditory Cortex Mediates Hearing-Guided Prey Capture in Mice
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Hoy et al. found that vision was necessary for accurate prey pursuit and capture in mice through observing their behavior under various sensory conditions (2016). Although vision was crucial for successful captures, it was found that mice were able to catch their prey in the dark, demonstrating that hearing can aid in prey capture when vision is obstructed (Hoy et al., 2016). In this specific research project we are interested in the role that the auditory cortex plays in prey capture. The experimental design isolates the auditory cortex by using a sound proof and dark chamber in which the mice are placed in an arena and presented with crickets. We observed that mice are able to successfully capture prey using auditory cues. In order to further investigate this in a more controlled setting, we set up speakers around the arena, which played pre-recorded cricket sounds. The mice responded to sounds played from these speakers, but the response was not robust. Additionally, using optogenetics to suppress the auditory cortex significantly increased overall capture time. This implies that auditory cortex mediates hearing-guided prey capture in mice, but it does not appear to be necessary for successful prey capture.